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Thomas Zellmann

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Participating in the PDF Techniques Accessibility Summit

The PDF Techniques Accessibility Summit’s objective is to establish a broad-based understanding of how PDF files should be tagged for accessibilty. It’s an opportunity to focus on establishing a common set of examples of accessible PDF content, and identify best-practice when tagging difficult cases.

Modernizing PDF Techniques for Accessibility

The PDF Techniques Accessibility Summit will identify best-practices in tagging various cases in PDF documents. Questions to be addressed will likely include: the legal ways to tag a nested list, the correct way to caption multiple images, the appropriate way to organize content within headings.

Refried PDF

My hospital emailed me a medical records release form as a PDF. They told me to print it, fill it, sign it, scan it and return it to the medical records department, in that order. In 2018? To get the form via email (i.e., electronically), yet be asked to print it? Did the last 20 years just… not mean anything! So I thought I’d be clever. I’d fill it first, THEN print it. Or better yet, never print it, but sign it anyhow, and return it along with a note making the case for improving their workflow. The story continues…

Slides and video recordings of PDF Days Europe 2018

You missed the PDF Days Europe 2018? Never mind! Here you can find the slides and video recordings of all 32 stunning sessions!

Using PDF/UA in accessibility checklists

PDF/UA, like PDF itself, is internally complex, but used correctly, actually makes things easier.

Session Intro – Track 1: What You Need to Know About PDF/A

The articles in this chapter contain the conference presentations from Track 1: What you need to know about PDF/A, for novice to intermediate level users.

Track 1 covers the basics of PDF/A and, after reading, you should have a fairly good overview of the format. More detailed information about PDF/A can be found in the subsequent chapters, or also in the PDF/A Competence Center’s “bible”: “PDF/A in a Nutshell”. The book is a very good follow-up to the lectures and is available in German and French, with additional languages in the works.

Three interesting articles are included in this chapter, beginning with PDF/A 101 by Stephen Poe of Crawford Technologies Inc., Canada. 101 is a very American – sorry, “Canadian” title and it talks about the archiving requirements which led to the standardisation of PDF/A. The history of the standardisation is covered with an outlook to the upcoming PDF/A-2 extension of the standard. The article also describes the do’s and don’ts which a PDF/A file must obey.

To demonstrate that PDF/A is a standard based on practical experience from users, and not just on academic theory, I like to cite an example from Airbus. Airbus has to store the engineering documents of their aircraft for 99 years. Before the PDF/A standard, they had an internal working group which found that PDF is a good and modern format, but has too many features which may endanger long-term archiving. Therefore, they defined a so-called “minimal PDF”, and this is exactly the bottom line of PDF/A! And obviously, Airbus is large PDF/A user today.

When I describe PDF/A in a three minute talk, I like to say that, quite simply put, PDF/A is just a subset of PDF that ensures long-term readability and through it, every PDF becomes a good PDF.

After the introduction and description of PDF/A by Stephen Poe, two articles follow which cover the two major sources of original documents.

“PDF/A for Scanned Documents” by Carsten Heiermann of LuraTech talks about documents that began as a piece of paper. The scanning of documents has been carried out for a long time already and Carsten compares the older electronic formats with PDF/A. He describes the new and modern features which PDF/A allows for in scanned documents like high compression, metadata, colour scanning and full-text OCR.

The second group of documents are the so-called “Digital Born Documents”. Dr. Hans Bärfuss from PDF Tools AG, Switzerland, describes the possible sources of digital documents and the options to convert these into PDF/A. He also discusses the different use-cases like e-mail archiving, and how PDF/A can help in such an application.

The ‘world picture’ of the PDF/A Competence Center provides a good summary for this introduction.
The ‘world picture’ of the PDF/A Competence Center provides a good summary for this introduction.

I would like to thank the authors for their excellent contribution of articles, and hope the chapter makes a worthwhile reading for you!

Tags: 3rd International PDF/A Conference, Proceedings
Categories: Architecture, Engineering & Construction (AEC), Archives & Libraries, PDF/A