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What is PDF/A Anyways?

March 15, 2016

So you’ve probably heard the term PDF/A tossed around when discussing digitization output. In fact, you may have seen it mentioned right here on our website. But what is PDF/A? Should you use it in your projects or recommend it to your customers?
Well, here is a crash course in PDF/A. Think of this as PDF/A 101. All the basics to get you started and maybe even inspire you to dig a bit deeper.born digital digital documents to pdfa 01

PDF/A is an ISO (International Organization for Standardization)-standardized version of the PDF specifically for digital preservation of electronic documents.

First, here’s a little history. In 2002, specialist from libraries and archives, from administrative bodies, from industry and from the judicial system assembled in order to develop a purpose-built file format for standardized archiving.

Within the ISO a group was formed to meet the task. This group consisted of representatives from a wide range of US-based associations and federal authorities including AIIM (Association for Information and Image Management), NPES (Association for Suppliers of Printing, Publishing and converting Technologies) and NARA (National Archives and Records Administration) who met with experts from the library sector (Library of Congress and Harvard University Libraries), industry developers (including Adobe Systems and Kodak) and the judicial system (Administrative Office of the United States Courts).

As a result of these meetings, the ISO published the PDF/A specifications on 10/01/2005 under the designation ISO 190005-1:2005. This was the world’s first standard file format for digital long-term archiving.

And now a quick look at the first guidelines. PDF/A should be:
  • Device-/Software-/ Version independent:
  • Identical reproduction of content and documents
  • Self-Contained: a PDF/A contains everything that is needed for the safe reproduction and presentation
  • Self-Documented: a PDF/A file describes and documents itself (metadata)
  • Transparent: A PDF/A file can be analyzed easily
What makes up the PDF/A standard? There are 3 main versions of PDF/A.

First is PDF/A-1, which is defined by ISO 19005-1:2005. It is based on the PDF Reference Version 1.4 and it aims to ensure reliable reproduction of the visual appearance of the document as well as guarantee that document content can be searched and repurposed.

Next, PDF/A-2 was introduced in July of 2011 and was published on top of ISO PDF (32000) and PDF Reference Version 1.7. It added JPEG2000 image compression, support for transparency effects and layers, embedding of OpenType fonts, provisions for digital signatures and the option of embedding PDF/A files to facilitate archiving sets of documents with a single file.

Lastly, the PDF/A-3 specification was published on 10/17/2012 as ISO 19005-3.The only change from PDF/A-2 is that it allows embedding of arbitrary file formats (e.g. video, xml, csv, CAD, Word documents, spreadsheets) into PDF/A conforming documents.

So, that’s PDF/A in a nutshell. There is still so much more information to discover about this “digital paper” and the benefits of using it as your long term archiving solution.

We offer the LuraTech PDF Compressor Enterprise which utilizes the PDF/A format and produces high-quality, high-compression PDF/A files that are great for long-term archiving as well sharing over the internet.

Kirtas Helps Tsadra Foundation Preserve Valuable Tibetan Buddhist Texts

March 9, 2016

Tsadra Foundation's Research Department, nestled amongst the picturesque foothills of the majestic Rocky Mountains
in Boulder, Colorado has recently selected Kirtas' KABIS IIIw book scanner from Ristech's unique line of high quality digitization systems to help contribute to the preservation of Tibetan Buddhist culture and further tf
its mission to support the advancement of the combined study and practice of Tibetan Buddhism in the west.
The Tsadra Foundation offers digital e-books and smartphone apps of classical texts as well as a variety of other digital resources related to the study, pratice and promulgation of Tibetan Buddhism.

The KABIS IIIw allows for high quality, non-destructive digitization of rare and fragile materials with the minimum of stress on the document while maintaining a steady and efficient speed and throughput.

Ristech Presented with 2016 Modern Library Gold Award for Book2Net's Kiosk II Book Scanner

January 19, 2016

Kirtas' parent company, Ristech Co. has been presented the Modern Library Award for Gold distinction for the Book2net Kiosk II Book Scanner with Integrated 71MP at the 2016 ALA Midwinter Meeting in Boston, Massachusetts.
The award was based on judging by librarians who use the Kiosk. This year's program featured over 50 products submitted by 42 companies.

Judges were asked a series of questions regarding the quality, functionality, value, customer service experience, and overall satisfaction with the Kiosk. Votes were tallied and averages calculated with great results!

Fly Smoother Skies With docWorks Control Center

February 23, 2016

Flying circles in an endless holding pattern with your current digitization workflow? docWorks offers a virtual cockpit and command center for managing production workflow and system environment of digitization projects.

A comprehensive solution that easily navigates through large or multiple digitization projects; Streamlined Multiproject Management and Statistical Analysis removes unexpected take-off delays & in-flight turbulence and gets you to where you want to go as smoothly and efficiently as possible.

A beneficial suite for project managers, team leaders and IT administrators. Ascend into a virtual jetstream of productivity!

Take command of where you are and where you want to go and soar to great new heights with docWorks Control Center (Basic, Enterprise or Pro)! Contact Kirtas, Inc. or Ristech Co. today!


Let Kirtas' Digital Service Bureau Handle Your Digitization Needs!

January 11, 2016

With nearly 15 years of experience as a designer, manufacturer and provider of automated bound document digitization solutions, Kirtas also provides digitization services through its Service Bureau, located at its headquarters in the picturesque Finger Lakes region south of Rochester, New York.

Our service bureau strives to provide color accurate, high resolution, archival quality digital images from a wide range of original source material. Our past clients have included Microsoft Live Search, Yale University, Amazon, University of Michigan, Cornell University, Classmates,, the New York Public Library as well as dozens of other respected universities and companies both domestic and abroad.

In order to achieve complete customer satisfaction, we employ top of the line digitization solutions-- from our own award-winning line of KABIS bound document scanners to our European partners' lines of high resolution, digital  capture solutions.

We also have co-developed our own cutting edge image processing technologies for optimizing output, offering features such as curvature correction, light uniformity correction, image segmentation, background removal, optical character recognition (OCR), and embedded structural, descriptive and technical metadata to deliver versatile, superior quality digital content.

We offer services for the following materials:

Unique, historical collections
Fragile and rare materials
Dissertations and theses
Corporate and Medical records
Print on demand proofs
Laboratory notebooks
Maps, posters and other oversized materials
County and state legislative records and deeds
Microfilm and Microfiche

We guarantee proper and gentle handling of source material in the creation of high quality derivative output files. For over ten years we have been pleased and proud to offer a 100 percent quality review of all digitized output before it is sent out of our facility and back to your doorstep.

Preliminary consultation with our team of experts ensures that you will receive exactly what you want at a competitive price with the superior image quality that you deserve. Even if you don't know what you want, we are more than happy to discuss your project upfront and make recommendations based on our substantial experience with our eclectic assortment of past and present clientele.

Like the letters in a book, Kirtas covers digitization from A-Z. Contact us at and let us assist you in your important digitization initiatives now and in the future!