The Digital Preservation Coalition recently published Preserving the Data Explosion: Using PDF by Betsy A. Fanning.
"It is estimated that over 90 percent of all business records are electronic," begins the paper. "This transition from paper to electronic documents has led the way for document file formats such as PDF, Portable Document Format, to be introduced. PDF was made popular by the fact that it enabled users to see electronic documents as they did their paper counterparts. With a large amount of information being based in electronic formats, it is critical to be able to preserve or archive this knowledge for future generations.
"Given the wide acceptance of PDF, the development of PDF/Archive for long-term preservation of electronic documents is a logical use of the file format," continues the paper. "Through the use of PDF/A, organizations can be sure that their documents will be preserved for the long term." The paper goes on to say, however, that better file formats may appear, and that organizations need to review continually review what is that might meet their needs.