Archiving electronic documents is more than making sure backup copies of the media on which the documents are stored are preserved in some fashion. It also involves making sure you are using the correct file format. Depending on your specific needs, you may want to preserve your electronic documents using their native file format, TIFF, XML or PDF/Archive (PDF/A).
As you decide which file format to use, you should consider the characteristics of a sustainable file format that NARA and the Library of Congress have identified, which include:
- Published documentation and open disclosure
- Widespread adoption and use
- Self-describing formats
- External Dependency
- Impact of Patents
- Technical Protection Mechanism
What is PDF/A? PDF/A is a file format for long-term preservation of electronic documents using PDF. It is one of several file formats that you should consider in your electronic document archiving plan. For more information on PDF/A, visit http://www.aiim.org/pdfa/
In September, AIIM with the PDF/A Competence Center produced a half day seminar in Chicago. The seminar was so well received that we are planning to do another seminar in March 2010 in the Washington, DC area. As details about this seminar are finalized, we will be posting the information at http://www.aiim.org/standards. Once again, we will have presentations on input, output, metadata, digital signatures, and the standard itself.