The need to have information stored electronically is now greater than ever as offices everywhere are attempting to overcome the limits of paper usage. According to a study conducted by Coopers & Lybrand, 90% of business information exists only on paper and 70% of businesses would fail within three weeks if their paper documents were destroyed. With all the information that needs to be retained, paper is no longer a reliable medium since it is both fragile and costly.
One of the most widely used methods of digitizing documents is through PDF. PDF, or portable document format, was created as a uniform, platform-independent file format that could be accessible no matter what operating system was in use. Once documents are scanned they can be converted into PDF using the proper software. Having documents as PDF in a database eliminates the need to store, find, print, and copy paper documents, activities which are wasteful if done carelessly. The transition to electronic files should be done in an organized and meticulous way since it is a good opportunity to discard documents that are no longer useful. Once the needed documents have been sorted from the unwanted ones, then the conversion to PDF can begin.
In addition to providing a universal format for accessing information, PDF is also on its way to becoming the standard for data archiving. A growing concern over the accessibility of data in the future has led to the development of PDF/A, an archiving format utilizing PDF that will be able to preserve documents for use years later on. PDF/A was initiated in the United States, grew to include multiple organizations and companies, and was finally approved it as a standard in June 2005.