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PDF/A is on the way.

Two policies intended to make the PDF/A document format the electronic standard for Florida courts have received final approval from the Florida Courts Technology Commission.

The commission passed the two standards at its August 3 meeting in Miami and are a follow-up to its approval of a resolution in May asking the Supreme Court to approve PDF/A as a technical standard.

Once the court does that, it will trigger a two-year phase-in for the court system's statewide electronic filing portal to deliver documents to court clerks in the PDF/A format and for clerks to store documents in that format. (Clerks will not be required to convert older records to PDF/A.)

The technical standards approved by the FCTC in August address the filing of documents through the statewide court e-filing portal and the storage of documents by court clerks, providing the details for its earlier resolution to the court.

The filing standard provides that the portal will accept filings in the Word, WordPerfect, and PDF formats and then provide them to clerks in the PDF/A format. Documents filed in approved PDF/A format will be passed through to clerks, documents in Word, WordPerfect, and searchable PDF formats will be converted to PDF/A, which will retain "intelligent information" such as bookmarks, internal links, and hyperlinks. They also can easily be searched and cut and pasted into other electronic paperwork.

Documents filed as non-searchable PDFs--typically documents that have been printed out and then scanned as a PDF format--will be converted into a "bitmap" version of PDF/A but will not retain intelligent information and typically cannot be searched or cut and pasted.

The standard for clerks provides that court records will be stored in the PDF/A format as a "day-forward standard" and that "existing electronic documents may remain in their current format(s) if the CMS [case management system] is capable of managing multiple file formats." It also provides that files that have sensitive information redacted to not have to retain intelligent information.

The FCTC is promoting the change to the PDF/A standard because it allows for intelligent information making it easier for users, is stable, and requires less electronic storage memory than other formats.

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Publication:Florida Bar News
Date:Sep 1, 2018
Words:370
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