PDF/A File Conversion and Viewers
PDF/A - a New Standard for Long-term Document Archiving*
Document archiving formats vary widely from country to country, and while traditional hard-copy archiving methods guarantee documentation preservation, they are outdated in the digital age as large documents cannot be quickly distributed, and it is a painful task to search paper documents for specific content. As a first step towards electronic document archiving, many organizations implemented TIFF archives – ensuring long-term viability, an established document structure, and an easy to transmit format – but one that is not easily searchable. (TIFF is a raster format and must first be scanned with an OCR engine (optical character recognition) before it can be searched.) In order to streamline the process, developers began looking for a portable yet easily searchable format, and Portable Document Format or PDF was created by Adobe Systems.
PDF is a more suitable archiving format than TIFF for a variety of reasons: PDF files are more compact and therefore require only a fraction of the memory space of respective TIFF files, often with better quality. The smaller file size is especially advantageous for electronic file transfer (FTP, e-mail attachment etc.), and the PDF file format stores structured objects (e.g. text, vector graphics, raster images), and allows for efficient full-text search. Plus, metadata like title, author, creation date, modification date, subject, and keywords can be embedded in a PDF file, enhancing archiving and retrieval.
Adobe has released several versions of their PDF application over the years; each has enriched the format with new features. However, as global requirements grew for reliable electronic archiving, Adobe defined a stable derivative of the PDF format, based on their proprietary specification that could be internationally accepted as a Standard for long-term electronic archiving. Thus, PDF/A was created, providing a mechanism for representing electronic documents in a manner that preserves their visual appearance over time, independent of the tools and systems used for creating, storing or rendering the files.
It is anticipated that PDF/A will become the new electronic document archiving standard and incorporates several new amendments into the required structure to this end: the implementation of embedded fonts, and the exclusion of transparency, sound and movie actions are two examples of this, with the ultimate goal of ensuring the “preservation of a document’s logical structure and content text stream in natural reading order.”*
Snowbound Software’s products offer powerful, flexible support for PDF/A documents tailored to your development and business needs:
- RasterMaster Imaging SDK – Build PDF/A viewing, manipulation, and conversion capability into your applications
- VirtualViewer High-speed Viewer – Quickly view, annotate, and print PDF/A files through a standard Web browser
Additional Resources for the PDF/A File Format
- Read Snowbound Software's PDF/A format press release
- Read Snowbound Adds Latest File Format Support Across All Product Lines HERE
- PDF/A Competence Center - Learn more about PDF/A
*The PDF/A Competence Center was used as a resource for the information above
PDF/A - The Development of a Digital Preservation Standard A PowerPoint presentation from The Association for Information and Image Management (AIIM), the global ECM community that provides education, research, and best practices to help organizations find, control, and optimize information.