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The PDF/A formats specified in the ISO 19005 standard strive to provide a consistent and robust subset of PDF which can safely be archived over a long period of time, or used for reliable data exchange in enterprise and government environments. The whitepaper discusses PDFlib features for creating PDF/A output suitable for long-term document archival.
Traditionally, PDF documents didn’t have a good reputation regarding basic accessibility principles. While PDF does a great job at faithfully preserving the visual appearance of a document, the logical structure of the content is generally not preserved in PDF, mostly because the format is rooted in PostScript printing technology and not in structured document formats such as XML. This shortcoming has been addressed with the introduction of Tagged PDF in PDF 1.4 (Acrobat 5, released in 2001), but adoption has been slow until recently.
The PDF/VT standard has been published in 2010 as ISO 16612-2. It is »designed to enable variable document printing (VDP) in a variety of environments«. (Note that the abbreviation VDP is sometimes expanded to »Variable Data Printing« as an alternative to »Variable Document Printing«). PDF/VT documents contain the final content elements and associated metadata, but not any variables or templates.
As a growing number of industry groups and corporations rely on metadata for organizing their growing data pools, XMP metadata gain importance for PDF documents. Furthermore several existing and planned ISO standards include the use of XMP metadata, such as PDF/A-1 for archiving, PDF/E for engineering, PDF/X for the graphic arts industry, and ISO 32000 that will standardize PDF 1.7. The whitepaper discusses XMP, XMP support in PDFlib products and possible XMP workflows.