Digital Signatures, PDF/A-3, and Browser-Based Collaboration
In case you missed our Facebook posts, a few of us were in NYC’s financial district last week for PDF Day. We showed up to support the PDF Association in their efforts to “promote the adoption and implementation of international standards” for the PDF. But we were also there to learn how others are utilizing PDF technology.
The conference was an impressive showing of partners from around the country and world. All of them are like-minded PDF enthusiasts who are shaping new business processes, building benchmarks and platforms, and enhancing the end user experience of PDF information management and sharing.
We sat in on several presentations and had great opportunities to speak individually with the presenters. Here are 3 things we learned from our experience at PDF Day New York.
1. Electronic Signatures vs. Digital Signatures
Electronic signatures are simply the digital alternative to the traditional wet signature. Users draw their John Hancock on a tablet or other signature collecting device using a stylus or finger. What you see it what you get.
Digital Signatures, however, carry with them additional data that is used authenticate the identity of the signer. This data may include a date and time stamp, location, a unique pin number, as well as other details about the signer.
A good signature should include an image with corresponding metadata. Click here for further reading on good eSignature policies.
2. PDF/A-3: The Next Generation of Archival PDFs
First introduced in 2005, the PDF/A is a specialized, ISO standardized file format for long term document preservation. Since its initial release, it has seen two iterations.
The PDF/A-2 allowed for the attachment of other PDF/As.
The PDF/A-3 goes further by allowing other file types such as text files, Excel worksheets, and Word documents to be added as attachments to a PDF/A. The PDF/A-3 acts as a sort of zip file, keeping the PDF/A and its attachments permanently bundled.
3. Browser-Based PDF Collaboration
One platform that seems to be untapped for the PDF is the web browser. While PDF’s can easily be displayed and downloaded, real time editing and browser-based collaboration has not been fully developed. Efforts are now being made to push collaboration to the browser and, in essence, produce greater portability for the PDF.