2014-09-01 Preserving PDF - identify, validate, repair

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Last chance to sign up! Registration closes on Friday 22 August: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/preserving-pdf-identify-validate-repair-registration-12203790867 

OPF members are invited free-of-charge (please use the code issued to your main point of contact at your organisation). Non-members are welcome at the rate of EUR 150.

Date & Location

1-2 September 2014

German National Library of Economics, Hamburg


This event will focus on the PDF file format. Participants are encouraged to contribute requirements, for instance sample files with errors or anomalies for investigation. Currently available identification and validation tools will be demonstrated, with the opportunity to compare results using your own collections and identify gaps for future development.
OPF members have identified specific tasks for the event:

  • check the validity of the files and whether they are encrypted;
  • perform quality assurance checks after migration, using comparison tools; 
  • investigate error messages, repair the problems, and build a knowledge base; and
  • document and improve open source tool functionality e.g. JHOVE validation.

There will also be discussion sessions, and the opportunity to share experiences with peer organisations.

Olaf Drümmer, Chairman of the PDF Association, CEO of callas software GmbH / DIN delegate to all PDF related working groups in ISO TC 171 and ISO TC 130 since 1999, will present the work of the ISO standards body, including efforts related to PDF and PDF/A, and share the industry perspective on tool development.

Why attend?

  • Learn about PDF and PDF/A standards 
  • Document and prioritise known preservation problems with PDF files
  • Assess state of the art identification and validation tools
  • Test the tools on sample files and compare the results 
  • Define organisational requirements and policies for conformance
  • Identify requirements for future development work (road-mapping)
  • Help improve current PDF tools (hacking)

Who should attend? 

  • Collection owners with a responsibility to preserve PDFs. Bring along your problem files! 
  • Developers interested in hacking PDF identification and validation tools.

Discussion topics

  • PDF and PDF/A validation
  • PDF standards and specifications
  • PDF technical metadata
  • Role of PDF/A as a preservation format


1 September

  Sessions Parallel Session Facilitators
09.30 - 10.00
Coffee and registration
  Rebecca McGuinness, OPF
10:00 - 10:15

10:15 - 10:45
Welcome & Housekeeping 
Lightning talks: who you are, the story behind your sample data, and what you want from the event. 
Plenary Ed Fay, OPF & Yvonne Friese, ZBW

Rebecca McGuinness, OPF
10:45 - 11:30 Talk: From PDF to PDF/A  -- an overview of applicable specifications and ISO standards. 
Which PDF versions are of interest today? What value does the family of PDF/A standards add to the PDF eco-system?
Olaf Drümmer, Chairman of the PDF Association
11:30 - 11:45 Break
11:45 - 12:00 Collaborating: Tools, test data and best practises for working together
An overview of the event format and the approach we'll be taking to requirements gathering and open source development. This
will also include an introduction to the tools and test data we'll be using.
Plenary Carl Wilson, OPF
12:00 - 12:30 Identify
  • A quick technical background to PDF format identification
  • An evidence-based tool demonstration of file, droid, Apache Tika
Plenary Carl Wilson, OPF
12:30 - 13:00 Validate
  • Automating characterisation, PDF/A validation and policy conformance checking.
  • An evidence based demonstration of JHOVE, Apache Tika, and Apache PDFBox/PreFlight.
Carl Wilson, OPF
13:00 - 14:00 Lunch
14:00 - 15:00 Prioritising tasks:
As a group, we'll prioritise the tasks below, and any additional tasks discussed in the lightening talks.
We'll split in to teams to work and will begin by brainstorming requirements and approaches to 
address these challenges.

Tasks -# check the validity of the files and whether they are encrypted;# perform quality assurance checks after migration, using comparison tools; # investigate error messages, repair the problems, and build a knowledge base; and# document and improve open source tool functionality e.g. JHOVE validation.
  1. otherAs teams, we will write up requirements and the wiki, and draw up plans to address them before presenting
    these ideas back to the group.
Plenary OPF
15:00 - 15:15 Coffee    
15:15 - 16:00

Presentations: Teams present requirements and plan to the group for feedback

Talks: Our hosts, Goportis, will explain their organisation background and motivation behind their policy decision-making.
They will also give practical examples of their current workflows with PDF files.
Write up: Develop plans and finalise achievable goals based on feedback from the group
Hacking OPF

Michelle Lindlar and Yvonne Friese
18:00 Close    
20:00 Optional self-paid group dinner at ​Brauhaus Joh. Albrecht 
A map to the restaurant is here: http://hamburg.brauhaus-joh-albrecht.de/index.php/anfahrtsskizze

2 September

  Sessions Parallel Sessions Facilitators
09.00 - 09.15
09.15 - 09.30
Welcome back   Ed Fay, OPF
09.30 - 10.30 Talk: What does it take to build a comprehensive PDF/A validator? Will any two validators ever agree? 
And why is there no readily available reference implementation? 
Discussion: How to validate and who validates the validators.
Hacking Olaf Drümmer, Chairman of the PDF Association
10:30 - 10:45 Break
10:45 - 13:00 Repair
We'll take a look at which tasks might be repairable automatically, e.g. encryption, validation failure or policy violations

Defining requirements as open test data.
Creating testable repair scenarios and use cases.

Hacking Carl Wilson, OPF
Sabine Krug, SLUB Dresden

13:00 - 14:00 Lunch
14:00 - 15:00

15:00 - 16:00
Finish requirement write ups and progress on the wiki in teams.
Prepare presentations/demos to report back to the group.
Try out the tools discussed on day 1 with prepared exercises on a virtual machine.

Presentations & Coffee
Each team will report back to the group on their progress and show demonstrations as appropriate.
Final hacking, check in code
and prepare to report back to the group.
16:00 - 17:00 Road-mapping

As a group we'll discuss what has worked well, and what hasn't worked and why.
We'll discuss how both requirements, and development actions arising from the event can be taken
forward by OPF and its members.

Wrap up and next steps

Plenary session
Olaf Drümmer
17:00 Close    
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