Home | Publications | ISQ | 2013 ISQ Issues (v.25) | Fall 2013 (v.25 no.3) | Preserving the Grey Literature Explosion: PDF/A and the Digital Archive (Ray Moore and Tim Evans)
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Information Standards Quarterly

ISSN: 1041-0031

Fall 2013, v.25, no.3

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Article Title: Preserving the Grey Literature Explosion: PDF/A and the Digital Archive
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Authors: Ray Moore and Tim Evans
doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.3789/isqv25no3.2013.04
Citation: Moore,Ray, and Tim Evans. Preserving the Grey Literature Explosion: PDF/A and the Digital Archive. Information Standards Quarterly, Fall 2013, 25(3): 20-27.
Abstract: The Archaeology Data Service (ADS) was established to provide specialist advice and expertise during the lifecycle of digital data from creation, through preservation, and onward to its potential reuse. The focus of the ADS has always been on preserving high quality, well documented data that holds the greatest potential for reuse. One of the key roles of the ADS, however, is the preservation and dissemination of grey literature produced as a consequence of archaeological fieldwork carried out during the planning process. An archaeological excavation may produce databases, spreadsheets, CAD plans, and GIS files alongside standard desktop publishing and image formats. Yet despite this complexity, the most common formats remain document and reports that are predominantly deposited in the Portable Document Format (PDF). This article, by providing an account of the work of the ADS, and specifically its experiences in the curation of a large collection of grey literature, reports on some of the problems and issues associated with archiving digital content in the PDF format. With an eye on the future it provides some insight into the impact of the development of PDF/A-3 on the archiving and preservation communities.
  1. Archaeology Data Service (ADS).

  2. Arts and Humanities Data Service (AHDS).

  3. Archaeology Data Service/Digital Antiquity. Guides to Good Practice.

  4. ArchSearch.

  5. OASIS project.

  6. Grey Literature Library.

  7. Archaeological Investigations Project (AIP).

  8. English Heritage.

  9. For example, see Bradley, Richard. "Bridging the Two Cultures – commercial archaeology and the study of Prehistoric Britain." The Antiquaries Journal, September 2006, 86: 1-13. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0003581500000032

  10. OASIS III: 21st Monitoring Report, April 19, 2013.

  11. Hardman, Catherine, and Evans, Tim. GLADE: grey literature – access dissemination and enhancement. The pilot assessment phase final report. York: Archaeology Data Service, August 25, 2010.

  12. RCAHMS and Historic Scotland.

  13. Seymour, Deni J. "In the Trenches Around the Ivory Tower: Introduction to Black-and-White Issues About the Grey Literature." Archaeologies, August 2010, 6 (2): 226-232. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11759-010-9130-z

  14. Ford, Matt. "Hidden Treasure." Nature, April 8, 2010, 464: 826-827. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/464826a

  15. Europeana.

  16. Vlachidis, Andreas, Ceri Binding, Douglas Tudhope, and Keith May. "Excavating grey literature: A case study on the rich indexing of archaeological documents via natural language-processing techniques and knowledge-based resources." Aslib Proceedings, 2010, 62 (4/5): 466-475. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/00012531011074708

  17. ISO 32000-1:2008, Document management – Portable document format – Part 1: PDF 1.7.

  18. Sullivan, Susan J. (2006). "An archival/records management perspective on PDF/A." Records Management Journal, 2006, 16 (1), 51-56. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/09565690610654783

  19. ISO 19005-1:2005, Document Management – Electronic Document File Format for Long-Term Preservation – Part 1: Use of PDF 1.4 (PDF/A-1).

  20. ISO 19005-2:2011, Document management – Electronic document file format for long-term preservation – Part 2: Use of ISO 32000-1 (PDF/A-2).

  21. ISO 19005-3:2012, Document management -– Electronic document file format for long-term preservation – Part 3: Use of ISO 32000-1 with support for embedded files (PDF/A-3). http://www.iso.org/iso/home/store/catalogue_tc/catalogue_detail.htm?csnumber=57229

  22. Morrissey, Sheila M. "The Network is the Format: PDF and the Long-term Use of Digital Content." In: Archiving 2012: Final Program and Proceedings, Copenhagen, Denmark; June 2012, pp. 200-203. Springfield, VA: Society for Imaging Science and Technology. Abstract at: http://www.imaging.org/IST/store/epub.cfm?abstrid=45333

  23. Koo, Jamin, and Carol C.H. Chou. "PDF to PDF/A: Evaluation of Converter Software for Implementation in Digital Repository Workflow." New Review of Information Networking, 18 (1): 1-15. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13614576.2013.771989

  24. Oettler, Alexandra. PDF/A in a Nutshell 2.0. Berlin: Association for Digital Document Standards, 2013, pp. 10.

  25. PDF/A-3, PDF for Long-term Preservation, Use of ISO 32000-1 with Embedded Files. Library of Congress, last significant update November 19, 2012.

  26. Fanning, Betsy A. Preserving the Data Explosion: Using PDF. DPC Technology Watch Series Report 08-02. Silver Spring, MD: Digital Preservation Coalition and AIIM, April 2008.