Sustainability of Digital Formats: Planning for Library of Congress Collections

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PDF/A-1b, PDF for Long-term Preservation, Use of PDF 1.4, Level B Conformance

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Format Description Properties Explanation of format description terms

Identification and description Explanation of format description terms

Full name ISO 19005-1. Document management - Electronic document file format for long-term preservation - Part 1: Use of PDF 1.4, Level B Conformance (PDF/A-1b)

Part 1 of the PDF/A ISO standard [ISO 19005-1:2005] is a constrained form of Adobe PDF version 1.4, intended to be suitable for long-term preservation of page-oriented documents for which PDF is already being used in practice. Level B conformance (PDF/A-1b) indicates minimal compliance to ensure that the rendered visual appearance of a conforming file is preservable over the long term. Level A conformance (PDF/A-1a) indicates complete compliance with the ISO 19005-1 requirements, including those related to structural and semantic properties of documents.

See PDF/A-1.

Production phase A final-state format for delivery to end users and long-term preservation of the document as disseminated to users.
Relationship to other formats
    Subtype of PDF_family, Portable Document Format
    Subtype of PDF_1_4, PDF 1.4
    Subtype of PDF/A-1, PDF for Long-term Preservation, Use of PDF 1.4

Local use Explanation of format description terms

LC experience or existing holdings See PDF/A-1.
LC preference See PDF/A-1.

Sustainability factors Explanation of format description terms

Disclosure See PDF/A-1.
    Documentation See PDF/A-1.
Adoption See PDF/A-1.
    Licensing and patents See PDF/A-1.
Transparency See PDF/A-1.
Self-documentation See PDF/A-1.
External dependencies See PDF/A-1.
Technical protection considerations See PDF/A-1.

Quality and functionality factors Explanation of format description terms

Normal rendering PDF/A-1b may contain only scanned images without any representation of text. OCR text that supports indexing or extraction of text is permitted, but only if it is invisible. See also PDF/A-1.
Integrity of document structure PDF/A-1b does not require representation of the logical structure of the document as specified in section 6.8 of ISO 19005-1.
Integrity of layout and display See PDF/A-1.
Support for mathematics, formulae, etc. See PDF/A-1.
Functionality beyond normal rendering See PDF/A-1.

File type signifiers and format identifiers Explanation of format description terms

Tag Value Note
Filename extension pdf
The standard does not indicate that a different extension should be used to distinguish PDF from PDF/A.
Internet Media Type See related format.  See PDF_family.
Magic numbers See related format.  See PDF/A-1.
Indicator for profile, level, version, etc. See note.  The standard specifies that the PDF/A version and conformance level of a file shall be specified using the PDF/A identification extension schema defined in the standard. This schema has two mandatory elements: pdfaid:part and pdfaid:conformance. A PDF/A-1b file should have the integer value 1 for pdfaid:part and the value "B" for pdfaid:conformance.
Pronom PUID fmt/354
See for PDF/A-1b.
Wikidata Title ID Q26543628
See for PDF/A-1b.

Notes Explanation of format description terms

General See PDF/A-1.
History See PDF/A-1.

Format specifications Explanation of format description terms

Useful references


Last Updated: 10/12/2020