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Draft of PDF/A Standard Reaches ISO

The first draft of an international standard that defines the use of PDF for archiving and preserving documents on the Internet has been submitted to the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) for review.

The push for a PDF archiving standard, commonly known as PDF/A, is aimed at creating a uniform way to electronically archive documents to ensure preservation of online content over an extended period of time.

The draft standard was submitted by a working group set up by the Association for Suppliers of Printing, Publishing and Converting Technologies (NPES) and the Association for Information and Image Management, International (AIIM International).

A spokesperson for the association told ISO approval would be clear the way for PDF/A to be used by governments, libraries, newspapers and regulated industries for data archiving. It would especially be useful for legal systems and industry segments that are data sensitive and need to preserve documents for a long period of time.

The draft standard also targets the need for documents to be retrieved and rendered with a consistent and predictable result in the future, the spokesperson explained.

The proposal sent to the ISO addresses the use of PDF for multi-page documents that may contain a mixture of text, raster images, and vector graphics. It also deals with the features and requirements supported by reading devices that are used to retrieve and render the archived documents.

PDF, short for Portable Document Format, is a file format developed by Adobe to captures formatting information from a variety of desktop publishing applications. The PDF format is widely used in the publishing industry, primarily because it lets formatted documents appear exactly as created.