California Government Code Section 12168.7, which deals with storing and recording permanent and nonpermanent documents in an electronic format, is lacking specification and clarity. Many attempts have been and are being made to adopt certain statewide standards for electronic storage. The use of PDF/A, which is listed in ISO 19005-1, seems to be the heir apparent in records management. Albeit - with some controversy amongst Records and IT managers.
The PDF/A standard does not define an archiving strategy, but instead identifies a compliant format for electronic documents that ensures they can be reproduced consistently and predictably, in the exact same way, well into the future.
The PDF/A offers users a way to preserve electronic documents in a manner that maintains the documents visual appearance over time, independent of the tools and systems used for creating, storing or rendering the files.
Based on portable document format (PDF) technology from Adobe Systems Inc., PDF/A eliminates PDF features not suited to long-term archival, such as audio, video and transparency.
A vital component to PDF/A reproducibility is that the documents must be 100 percent self-contained. This feature ensures that all information needed to display the document in the same manner every time is embedded in the file. Included in each PDF/A file is all content, including text, raster images and vector graphics; as well as fonts and color information.