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Digital Preservation with PDF/A and XML

A major step in preservation of information is converting documents to the ISO standard document formats of PDF/A and XML. This prevents loss of information caused by changes in data formats due to software changes or software becoming obsolete at all.

Using standard ISO formats ensures that documents and data can be read in the future!


PDF/A conversion

The Sphereon PDF/A service offers the capabilities to convert a wide range of document formats to a ISO-standard PDF/A format:

  • Microsoft Office documents (.docx, .xlsx, pptx, en .doc, xls, ppt)
  • PDF documents (.pdf)
  • Email messages (.msg, .pst, .mbox, .eml, .emlx)
  • AutoCAD drawings (.dwg)
  • Text files (.txt, .rtf, .csv, .html, .xml)
  • Images files (.tiff, .jpg, .png)

Pricing starting from as low as € 1.200,00 per year.


But conversion to PDF/A is just not good enough.

Just converting your files to PDF/A alone is not good enough. Content will be lost: think of macros, scripts or formulas in Microsoft Excel. Also the layout, styles and form do often not quite match the original.

You must be able to prove that the information is authentic and reliable.

And that wont be possible with just a conversion to PDF/A.


PDF/A tampering

You are familiar with the blue header in a PDF that says: ” This file claims compliance with the PDF/A standard and has been opened as read-only to prevent modification”.

Read-only? Safe? No, absolutely not!

A PDF/A file can be modified and tampered with very easy. No special hacker tools required, just using standard Adobe Acrobat:

–> Open the file and select Enable Editing. Then make the changes you want as Save As a PDF/A again.

When someone now opens the PDF again, it shows the PDF/A header and nothing seems wrong.


Certification and authentication of content

Conversion is just not enough: you will have to do more. First, you have to be able to prove that the original is unchanged. Second, you have to prove that the copy really is a copy from the original.

This can be done by certifying both the original document- and data-files as well as the resulting PDF/A. And then certify both, together. By combining the original and the copy in one digital certification you can always prove that they belong together and have not been modified.

For workflow- and case-management systems you can also certify all the files that belong with a case, including the audit-trail for the case.


Sphereon PDF/A conversion and certification

Using the Sphereon PDF/A conversion en certification service you can make sure your documents and data are converted to PDF/A as well as certify them in such a way that you can guarantee their authenticity.

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