PDF/A Sofware and Workflows Article

On November 18, 2010, in Research, Software Reviews, by Chris Prom

The current issue of DLib Magazine contains an excellent overview and evaluation of methods to convert documents into PDF/A, by Dan Noonan, Amy McCrory and Elizabeth Black, looking mainly at conversion tools in Acrobat and Word 2007.  Key findings:

  • In an environmental scan completed before the project, “[v]ery few institutions were even experimenting with the PDF/A format, let alone having adopted it as tool. Early adopters were predominantly in Europe. Towards the end of our project, we conducted a somewhat broader, yet informal environmental scan via an on-line survey. We received fifty-four responses of which seventeen, or 31.5%, noted that their institution had adopted the use of PDF/A as a preservation tool.”
  • “After spending over a year experimenting with various conversion tools and file types, we settled upon conducting implementation testing with existing tools that we had already licensed, Adobe® Acrobat® Pro and Microsoft Word. The tests revealed a number of issues that may impede achieving compliance with PDF/A-1a.”
  • “The working group concluded from our tests that PDF/A is most appropriate for files that are primarily text documents, and that it is significantly easier to get files into PDF/A form if those files are born digital or when one has control over making them digital. Surprisingly, the easiest to make fully PDF/A-1a compliant were those we scanned to PDF/A.”

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