SOURCE: AIIM - The ECM Association

September 13, 2005 11:00 ET

PDF/Archive Secures ISO Approval

New Standard Addresses Long-Term Preservation of Electronic Documents

SILVER SPRING, MD and RESTON, VA -- (MARKET WIRE) -- September 13, 2005 -- AIIM The Enterprise Content Management Association and NPES The Association for Suppliers of Printing, Publishing and Converting Technologies today announced that the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has approved PDF/Archive (PDF/A). PDF/A enables organizations to archive documents electronically in a way that will ensure preservation of content over an extended period of time and that those documents can be retrieved and rendered with a consistent and predictable result in the future.

ISO 19005-1, Document management -- Electronic document file format for long-term preservation -- Part 1: Use of PDF 1.4 (PDF/A-1) defines a file format based on Portable Document Format (PDF) which provides 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 and rendering the files. PDF/A is a subset of PDF, which is already widely accepted for the delivery of final-format documents. It is estimated that the total size of the surface Web is 167 terabytes, 9.2 percent of which consist of PDF documents.

"The speed with which PDF/A was developed is a testament to the commitment of the committee members worldwide," said John Mancini, President, AIIM. "The collaborative effort put forth by representatives from the archival, records management, government and other communities ensure that this standard will fit the needs of those communities and that our corporate and cultural memory is preserved over time."

"The development of ISO 19005-1 was a coordinated effort by several affected communities to address the critical need for a standardized method for the long-term preservation of documents," said Mary Abbott, director of standards programs at NPES. "The work was done in a way that shows that international groups can work together quickly and effectively to develop solutions through the accredited standards process."

"The publication of PDF/A will have a significant impact on the preservation of electronic documents by defining an internationally recognized standard format that is amenable to long-term preservation," said Stephen Abrams, Digital Library program manager at the Harvard University Library. "The standard will allow libraries, archives, and other electronic resource consumers to encourage their content providers to produce and deliver those resources in a form that is optimized for their effective preservation over time."

"PDF/A files will be more self-contained, self-describing, device-independent than generic PDF 1.4 files, and should allow information to be retained longer as PDF," said Susan Sullivan of the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration. "But, Federal agencies and other users should be aware that PDF/A does not stand alone. PDF/A must be implemented in conjunction with mechanisms to manage records according to legal and domain specific requirements."

"We began work in May 2002 with the U.S. Courts and U.S. National Archives and Records Administration, and then moved to create a formal standards working group in October 2002," said Melonie Warfel, director of worldwide standards at Adobe Systems. "The quick time to publication is a direct result of the strong commitment of all the participating members, from the U.S. Courts and the Library of Congress to our project leader from Harvard University, and representatives of national standards bodies around the world."

"The PDF/A and PDF/X committees established a very effective two-way exchange of requirements and solutions during the development of PDF/A," said Martin Bailey, senior technical consultant at Global Graphics. "Our work on the PDF/X standard, a subset of PDF for the print industry first published under ISO in 2001, helped to inform many aspects of PDF/A. This collaborative approach to development is continuing for other PDF-based standards, and will benefit all users of PDF."

The standard will be published in September and available for purchase from, orderform.html or

About ISO

ISO is made up of 148 national standards institutes from countries large and small, industrialized and developing in all regions of the world. ISO develops voluntary technical standards which contribute to making industrial production and supply more efficient, safer and cleaner, and to making trade between countries easier and fairer. ISO standards also serve to safeguard consumers and users in general of products and services, as well as to make their lives simpler.

In late May, an international standard that defines the use of PDF for archiving and preserving documents (ISO/DIS 19005-1) was approved unanimously by all International Organization for Standardization (ISO) participating countries. ISO is the leading developer of international standards.

About AIIM

AIIM, the international authority on Enterprise Content Management (ECM), is leading the way to the understanding, adoption and use of ECM technologies. These technologies, tools and methods are used to capture, manage, store, preserve, and deliver content across an enterprise in support of business processes. As a non-profit association for more than 60 years, AIIM provides industry news and information, educational events and professional development, market analysis, industry standards development, publications, regional chapters, and executive networking. Complete information about AIIM is available on the Web at, by e-mail at, or by telephone at 301.587.8202/800.477.2446.

About NPES

The Association for Suppliers of Printing, Publishing and Converting Technologies NPES, a U.S. non-profit trade association for 70 years, represents more than 450 companies engaged in manufacturing and importing for sale or distribution of machinery, equipment, systems, software and supplies used in every printing, publishing and converting process from desktop design and image generation and processing to multiple output options and targeted dissemination systems. As one of its many programs, NPES administers ANSI- and ISO-accredited committees developing standards of interest to the graphic technology industry. Complete information about the Association, its programs and its member companies is available on the Web at , by e-mail at, by telephone at 703.264.7200, or by fax at 703.620.0994.

Contact Information

  • For more information, contact:

    Betsy Fanning
    Director, Standards & Content
    AIIM - The Enterprise Content Management Association
    Email Contact

    Mary Abbott
    Director Standards
    NPES - The Association for Suppliers of Printing, Publishing and Converting
    Email Contact