Australia and New Zealand jointly adopt PDF/A-4

By Peter Wyatt 

The joint Australian and New Zealand IT-021 mirror committee on Records and Document Management Systems recommendation to both Standards Australia and Standards New Zealand, the national standards bodies of the respective countries, to adopt PDF/A-4 was recently completed on 23 December 2022.

The new standard, known as “AS/NZS ISO 19005.4:2022”, (a slightly different nomenclature than used by ISO) is a shared direct text adoption (DTA) of ISO 19005-4:2020 Document management — Electronic document file format for long-term preservation — Part 4: Use of ISO 32000-2 (PDF/A-4).

National mirror committees are composed of experts and end user representatives to provide national perspectives into both ISO standards as well as local standards activities. These committees “mirror” the activities of one or more ISO committees to provide national perspectives, comments and feedback, and ballot positions on draft ISO publications as well as guidance to their own national standards body on local activities.

Australia had previously adopted the earlier editions of PDF/A; this is the first PDF/A edition that is a joint publication shared by Australia and New Zealand. Because PDF/A is fundamentally a technical file format and software specification there was no need to adapt the wording or language of the ISO standard.

As described in the draft Standards Australia Standardisation Guide 007: Adoption of International Standards, adoption of an ISO standard as a national standard provides clear indication to industry of a recognized global “best practice”.

It also allows national laws and regulations to reference the AS/NZ standard, which is maintained and reviewed by the local mirror committee independently of changes at the international level.

All PDF/A ISO 19005 editions can be purchased via the PDF Association web store. Related ISO corrigenda and PDF Association Technical Notes for PDF/A-1 are also freely available.

Peter Wyatt is Chief Technology Officer at the PDF Association and an independent technology consultant with deep file format and parsing expertise, who is a developer and researcher actively working on PDF technologies for more than 20 years.