One can see a lot clearer in the rearview mirror. Having been in Prepress for 30 years and 17 at callas, here I will have a quick look to the rear - and to the front...
With Enterprise Content Management (ECM) systems, companies can better distribute information, collaboratively edit documents, digitally archive or simply retrieve information faster. This is particularly successful if files are stored in a suitable format that reflects the typical requirements for processing documents. So, what is the first choice of document format here?
For people with physical disabilities, such as severely impaired vision, reading on a computer with technical aids is much easier than reading on paper. It therefore makes sense to make technical documentation available electronically, and thus make it accessible to as many people as possible. Guess which is the preferred format for achieving this and how does it add value for everyone?
What the flattened curbside or stepless access is for wheelchair users, the barrier-free PDF in accordance with the PDF/UA standard is for reading and editing documents and forms. Without limiting the diversity of PDF technology, it determines how unrestricted accessibility of content in PDF files is ensured.
Numerous directives and laws state that employee records must be maintained for many years after an employee leaves the company. How can companies ensure that the documents are still accessible? Do companies want to keep this data online for 5 years? One possibility is to store the documents in PDF/A format, the ISO standard for long-term archiving.
Everybody whose occupation is related to a business process that relies on a subset standard will know it: somebody working in prepress will know PDF/X as an archivist knows PDF/A. But for PDF professionals, it also makes senses to know something about other subset standards. One reason could be that it is technically not complicated to create PDF files that comply with more than one standard (major portions of their text are exactly the same). Therefore, we wrote this article with a short description of all PDF based ISO standard!
E-mails are increasingly replacing paper mail and are therefore an integral part of processes. So, it might be interesting to do e-mail archiving as their content must be retained for years. Furthermore, there are more good reasons for e-mail archiving. If e-mails and their attachments are structured in the same way as all other documents and stored in a uniform format, this facilitates the comprehensive information search. However, e-mails are often - if at all - stored in proprietary formats. Whether these are reproducible or searchable in the long term is questionable. System-independent e-mail archiving in PDF/A format is a secure alternative!
The goal of banks should be that all information is also accessible by people who use special tools, such as screen readers, special mouse or voice output/input. The ISO-certified PDF/UA format (Universal Accessibility) can help to ensure that the documents and forms offered on the internet are barrier-free.