As an industry, I think records managers and archivists have generally welcomed the emergence of PDF and PDF/A as a standard for the creation and preservation of documents. At last we have a format that enables us to view documents as they were originally intended to be viewed on a wide variety of platforms. In addition, the problems of software obsolesence have perhaps been virtually wiped away with the availability of PDF/A. However, even PDF presents certain problems, most notably with the ability to conveniently view documents on portable devices such as smartphones, iPADs and e-Readers.
I have just read a really thought-provoking article on the AIIM website by Serge Huber who suggests that PDF may need to make way for a new document format which is closer to HTML5 and EPUB3. I won’t attempt to summarise Serge’s article here; click the link to read it for yourself. As records managers and archivists we need to understand what the limitations of our current document formats are. We also need to try to understand where advances in technology may be leading us so that we are prepared when new file formats are thrust upon us. And perhaps even be there encouraging our organizations to migrate to these new formats?