LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Misconceptions about PDF/A

We were disappointed by misstatements in your July 5 article 'Everything's on the record,' related to the PDF/Archive standard.

First, PDF/A was described as a bare-bones, stripped-down version of PDF. PDF/A is a subset of the PDF specification that defines an archival profile of PDF amenable to long-term preservation. The PDF/A specification outlines features that are required, restricted or prohibited.

Second, the article asserted that the U.S. Courts moved to PDF/A due to an issue with PDF. The U.S. Courts archive in PDF today. The PDF/A standard was ratified at the end of May and has yet to be implemented.

Third, it is true that the National Archives and Records Administration is evaluating formats including PDF/A for future use. But NARA accepts various electronic formats today, including PDF. PDF/A is designed to ensure that electronic files can be retrieved long after the technologies currently used are replaced. The committee that developed PDF/A worked diligently to focus on the appropriate requirements of a long-term file format.

John Mancini, president, AIIM

Melonie Warfel, director of standards, Adobe Systems Inc.

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