Actually theres another elephant, I think (is two a herd?)
And that is, potentially, costs.
If your no longer receiving a hard copy and one is needed, then the cost of printing is born by the curator and not the developer.
Not having had to worry about space yet, we usually get both hard and soft copies, so I don't know if this is a serious issue.
Can anyone with experience of it feed back?
Getting back to the original question, I would say stick to your guns, Helen and ask for PDF A. If there is a cost to produce PDF A then the contractors should pay it, and pass it on to the developer. The whole idea of recording is the Polluter pays, so if they're saving money not printing out a hard copy, they can just convert that to the cost for PDF A. Otherwise, if you're having to convert them in house, again the cost is being born by the curator.
Currently, we don't ask for PDF A, digitally we seem to get what we're given, but its on my list of things to ponder at some point how we get reports.
Not today though...
Historic Environment Record Officer
From: Issues related to Historic Environment Records [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Chris Wardle
Sent: 15 January 2014 08:02
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: PDF/A reports
The 'elephant in the room' in this discussion is the growing number of HERs that do not have the storage space for hard copies. I understand that Helen no longer has the storage space for them, nor does my former workplace in Staffordshire, and Derbyshire too. As HERS move offices, and are increasingly shoehorned into ever smaller offices, the number that no longer has the space for paper copies is bound to grow.
Currently we have adequate space both to hold paper reports and space for at least some more. Though I realised a few years ago that one day space would be an issue and resisted a proposal by EH for the City HER to be a depository for details of building foundations. Units almost invariably supply me with digital copies, as its cheaper for them to do so and I no longer insist on a paper copy.
Shortly we will have to moving to new offices ('cos our present late '60s/early '70s building is crumbling). In these fine offices there will not be the space for paper reports, so I will have to get those paper reports I have digitized. What concerns me is the reports I have had over the last few years about the corruptibility of normal pdfs
From: Issues related to Historic Environment Records [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Tim Evans
Sent: 14 January 2014 19:54
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: PDF/A reports
Just to briefly follow up on a few of the issues raised on this subject.
We (the ADS) receive alot of PDF files (of all shapes, formats and sizes) as well as DOC, RTF, ODT etc through OASIS. Part of our OASIS/Grey Literature Library remit is to ensure that these files are 'preserved', i.e. in the future (be it 2 years or 20) they can be opened and migrated to other formats. Converting PDFs to other formats (such as DOC or HTML) creates a pretty ugly and unusable product, therefore we took the plunge and opted for PDF/A 1 (versions A and B) for creating preservation versions of files uploaded as PDF. It's a situation we continue to monitor, including examining the more recent PDF/A 2 and 3 standards.
I should stress, although we ask for people to upload PDF/A if possible, as Julia notes we don't/can't enforce it. Thus most conversions are done in-house using a range of purchased software including Adobe Pro and PDFTron. Even then, conversions of existing PDFs to PDF/A are troublesome - some will not convert to the profile.
Again, as noted below, bigger organizations have a wide range of standard software (Office or Adobe) which creates valid PDF/A files. The issues tend to crop up with various bits of freeware (and even some software you have to pay for) which claim to create PDF/A, but in reality don't (mainly through bugs in the software rather than any malicious intent). As for technical advice, its' well worth reminding contractors that most modern word-processing packages (including OpenOffice which is free) create valid PDF/A 1A files. In addition, further information can be found here: http://www.pdfa.org/tag/pdfa-validation/ Although bear in mind it is "pro PDF/A".
A colleague and I recently wrote a short article summarisingalot of these points, which is Open Access and can be found here: http://www.niso.org/publications/isq/2013/v25no3/moore At the very least, it's a good cure for insomnia.
If anyone has any further questions about how we deal with PDFs you're always welcome to email us off-list, we'll try and advise as best we can.
Archaeology Data Service
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