Time to start referencing ISO standards?

by Rick Jelliffe

Did you know there are ISO standards for the following: PDF, HTML and Dublin Core Metadata?

Document management -- Electronic document file format for long-term preservation -- Part 1: Use of PDF 1.4, Information technology -- Document description and processing languages -- HyperText Markup Language (HTML) (which has a User's Guide), and Information and documentation -- The Dublin Core metadata element set.

The PDF and the HTML are profiles of the well-known standards, suitable for organizations wishing for a conservative subset suitable for archiving, interchange and complience. ISO is quite a good forum for this kind of standards making: it leaves the originating organization free to innovate while meeting the needs of users for a fixed base format.


Josh Peters
2006-06-19 12:21:29
Restricted features suck. Adobe seems to be pissed off at Microsoft because they are implementing bookmarks in their PDF generation.

What's annoying about the whole Adobe vs. Microsoft butting of heads is that neither side has admitted why there's an issue. Adobe implies that Microsoft could steer PDF and hurt their revenue (but also say that ~1% of their revenue comes from PDF creation). Microsoft on the other hand isn't admitting that they're creating _more_ than ISO PDF, they keep saying they're creating a standards-compliant PDF, and they seem pretty happy to let people think they're doing strictly open standard stuff.

M. David Peterson
2006-06-19 14:50:33
>> What we need is for MS (and Adobe, and Open Office) customers to start demanding "Regardless of what extended formats you provide, we want at least ISO PDF, ISO HTML and ISO Dublin Core" <<

VERY STRONG point! When it comes to long term preservation, with reassurance that the content itself is preserved, as opposed to where it is I last left off reading.

Which brings me question: If Adobe is worried about people implementing bookmark "technology", then maybe its time to reconsider the term "technology" as it applies to "technology."

I full and whole heartedly believe in the phrase, "the more things change, the more they stay the same...", but this might be taking that phrase a bit more literally than I think it was EVER intended to be taken.

M. David Peterson
2006-06-19 15:00:33
e.g. the x86 archictecture has DEFINITELY proven its longevity in the marketplace, but I'm certainly glad that things have continued to follow Moores law since the 8086/88 processor hit the scene!

While the rendering engines themselves can do some amazing things (and I don't think we've come even close to the potential of such technology), do we really need anything other a standards conformant URI/IRI to link to a resource location, whether this be something we use a personal bookmark, or as a way to point someone or something else to a resource we would like to share with them?

Rick Jelliffe
2006-06-19 15:50:42
Some more information.

ISO PDF is based on PDF 1.4 (from 2001, as used by Acrobat 5) and has two variants, PDF/X for prepress and PDFF/A for visual archives. Wikipedia also mentions PDF/E for engineering drawings and PDF/UA for accessible PDFs, but I have no info on these.

For info on Adobe's patent licensing, see http://www.digitalpreservation.gov/formats/fdd/fdd000030.shtml

Some info on capabilities of different versions at