Global Graphics' Bailey Says Think About Archiving Needs At The Point Of Document Creation
Press release from the issuing company
Cambridge, UK 13 July, 2005: "Will products that can create PDF/A compliant files be rolled out to all users who create digital documents destined for long-term storage and retrieval, or will they remain a niche product used by archivists?" challenged Martin Bailey, Global Graphics’ senior technical consultant, at the Effective Electronic Preservation and Information Management Strategies conference today in London. " Only if products are made available to everyone in business and government departments at the point of document creation", he stated, "will organisations reap the benefits of the forthcoming standard."
The conference, held at the British Standards Institute Headquarters, is designed to give information managers, data protection controllers, risk managers and designers of record keeping systems, the opportunity to discuss long-term electronic preservation with top industry figures. Mr Bailey, well known in the print and graphic arts industry for his work on another subset of PDF, namely PDF/X, sits on the committee that has established the archival standard for the Portable Document Format known as PDF/A.
PDF/A is currently being prepared for publication at the ISO central secretariat, and is likely to be published within the next couple of months. However, as Mr Bailey cautioned in his address, if it remains the sole domain of archivists its chances of successful adoption will be less than if its use is wider spread. Corporations, government departments, the financial and legal sectors could miss out on the benefits of adopting a common standard for long-term preservation and retrieval of electronic documents if they do not implement PDF/A at the point of document creation, rather than converting the file to PDF/A at a later stage. He emphasized "The greater the market demand for applications to create files that will comply with the forthcoming PDF/A standard the greater chance the standard has of success, and, the more choice there will be of applications and tools at competitive prices."
Files created to the PDF/A standard offer the same kinds of advantages for those sharing documents within and between organizations as PDF/X does in the print environment: the recipient is much more likely to be able to open the file and to see its contents exactly as it left the creator. This includes use of exactly the same fonts, and the closest possible match to color. Conformance to PDF/A at the point of creation also removes the possibility that insufficient reliable data will be available to convert to PDF/A at some future point when the decision is made to archive the file, and increases the likelihood that the archived copy will exactly match the creator's intent.
With the advent of government departments and businesses switching over to electronic record keeping, of the need for compliance with legal requirements with regard to certain financial and legal digital documents, and the increasing trend towards the electronic submission of documents such as tax returns, it has become imperative, in a relatively short period of time, to produce an industry-wide standard to ensure that text-based digital documents remain accessible in the long-term. Products compliant with the PDF/A standard will enable the exact representation of the digital text file to be maintained, searched, retrieved, and reused.
In drawing a comparison with the evolution of the PDF/X standard, a subset of PDF for ensuring printable files are delivered into a commercial print workflow, Mr Bailey said that the availability of mass market products has been vital in the adoption of the PDF/X standard and would prove to be so for PDF/A. However, those products currently available that support "PDF/A minimal", are based on a draft of the standard, are useful for prototyping, but are not yet ‘production-ready’. "Use them for testing", he advised the audience, "and make sure that you design your submission requirements around the standard and around your specific market place requirements. Expect to see more products on the market once the final specification has been published in the next few weeks."
Global Graphics is at the forefront of emerging standards and technology. The Company has extensive expertise in Page Description Languages and has been working with PostScript since 1986 and with the Portable Document Format (PDF) since it was introduced in 1993. The company plays an active role on industry standards committees and has an extensive patent portfolio touching many areas of printing technology. Global Graphics’ broad technology portfolio includes: Raster Image Processors (RIPs) that convert text and images into printable form; software for document conversion and manipulation; and, components for digital workflows and color management.
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