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Nearly All Archiving Projects Use PDF/A

Awareness of the ISO standard for long-term archiving, PDF/A, has spread throughout Europe to the point that it is considered in nearly all projects. This was revealed in a survey performed by the PDF/A Competence Center at the end of 2008. A comparison with the results of the 2007 survey showed a steady increase in the number of users. About 400 persons in companies and public institutions were questioned; approximately half of these intend to introduce PDF/A in the next twelve months. At the same time, the number of those working with older archiving formats such as TIFF, JPEG or simple PDF decreased by about five percent.

Moreover, the survey clearly showed that PDF/A is used with increasing frequency for e-mail archiving.

There are many reasons for using PDF/A, among them the guarantee that users who choose the format will be able to read the documents for many years to come. This satisfies legal requirements and ensures that the digitally archived information remains available for decades or longer. Thus many have switched to the format, which was first published in 2005, to ensure the highest level of security for the future of their information.

In its survey on the current situation regarding PDF/A, the Competence Center found that 95 percent of the IT decision makers surveyed know of PDF/A, 16 percent use it actively and 75 percent plan to introduce in the near- to long-term.

Moreover, the survey provided information on current and future areas of application for PDF/A. It is used primarily in the digitization of documents as well as for converting digital original documents and existing PDF files. Compared with the 2007 survey, there was a noticeable increase in its use for e-mail archiving. This can be attributed to the growing number of e-mail archiving projects which are currently being carried out due to statutory regulations.

Archiving in the original format cannot meet the statutory requirements for long-term availability of documents subject to auditing, and it is risky, because the readability of the information cannot be ensured after a few years given the rapid pace of IT development. In some cases, content can only be made accessible with considerable effort and expense. Therefore an appropriate strategy which complies with the law is unavoidable for every company.

The ISO 19005 standard (PDF/A) defines requirements for creating documents suitable for archiving based on the widely available PDF format. The standard specifies in detail what content is allowed and what is not. These and other specifications are intended to ensure long-term readability of the documents regardless of the application software and operating system in which they were originally produced. The advantages of PDF/A such as full-text search capabilities have led it to already replace TIFF as the preferred archiving format in numerous international governmental organizations as well as in private industries.



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