Digitizing the past, present and future with automated document conversion: Adlib’s highlights from Washington

March 26, 2014

3 minute read

Want to know more about automating archiving to PDF/A? Download this white paper.

Like any other governing body, the US government agencies and departments have to deal with large volumes of data and documents. This content not only relates to day-to-day functions in the government, armed forces, various agencies and departments, but also to government history.

The large volume of documents is a challenge in itself, but with disparate file types, sources, formats and versions, there are additional challenges. The need to digitize documents for sharing and dissemination to deal with FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) requests, long-term archival or to ensure the data is accessible for legal or regulatory purposes poses yet another set of concerns. All of this is compounded further by the fact that the volume of data and documents is expected to increase exponentially with each passing day.

As we expected, the topic of this seminar seemed just timely for this audience.

A digital history

Since most of this data exists on paper, it has the potential to be lost, damaged or stolen. The good news is that we live in a world of digital capture; a world where we have increased opportunities to preserve legacies, stories and historical events by converting and storing them in digital format. Enter PDF/A!

The PDF/A standard

As with some other industries, government is required to archive documents for a long time, sometimes up to 100 years or more, as part of a regulatory standard. PDF/A is rapidly becoming the accepted format for archival. Since PDF/A is an ISO standard, it ensures the fidelity, integrity and searchability of the files for years to come, unlike TIFF and other image formats.

Preservation for future generations

The preservation of documents is vital not only for compliance and regulatory purposes, but also for future generations to look back into the history and evolution of content. For preservation to be meaningful, it should be consistent across the board. For instance, if all legislation, patent records, health records, libraries, court documents and other content was archived in one single format such as PDF/A, these documents could be accessible and shared universally!

Automating preservation of records with PDF/A

Now let’s get optimistic and assume that NARA (National Archives and Records Administration) mandates PDF/A for all document archiving. The next question on everyone’s mind will be: how do we convert millions of documents into PDF/A with minimal workload, cost and resources?

Well, the answer is simple: converting documents to PDF/A can be automated! As we explored with our industry guests in this seminar, it is possible.

Learn more about automating archiving to PDF/A in this white paper, Efficient Compliance, Effective Sharing through Automated Archiving.


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