Property Records Industry Association Publishes White Paper on TIFF-PDF/A Documents

Raleigh, N.C. – On March 15, the Board of Directors of the Property Records Industry Association (PRIA) authorized publication of a white paper on the history and background of TIFF and PDF/A documents. This paper was developed by a work team consisting of both government and business representatives with extensive knowledge about TIFF and PDF document types. Carol Foglesong, now retired assistant comptroller, Orange Co., Fla., co-chaired the project representing government, and Samantha Crowley, assistant vice president, Pioneer Technology Group, was the business co-chair.

In the late 1990s when recording jurisdictions began the process of digitizing documents from paper and microfilm, the most accepted standard document storage format was the Tagged Image File Format (TIFF). Land Records Management Systems (LRMS) software for recorders incorporated the receipt and storage of TIFF images to meet the growing demand of clients. Billions of TIFF land record images are being stored and used across the United States. This paper focuses on document image formats and explores information about the benefits and possible pitfalls of continued reliance on TIFF images, as well as PDF/A images.

Foglesong explains, “While land records incorporated TIFF images, and the collection of TIFF images grew over the past 20 years, the federal court system moved to Portable Document Format (PDF) images and later adopted PDF/A (archive) images as its desired document format. State court systems now are following the federal model. Changing from TIFF to PDF/A is an important transition for all land record stakeholders to consider.”

Crowley concurred stating, “The transition of moving from a record storage format that is so well-known can be challenging; however, reality is that technology evolves, new processes are available and previous preservation tools are no longer available. Land records stakeholders need to explore better storage methods for electronic records.”

According to PRIA President Mark Ladd, vice president of regulatory and industry affairs for Simplifile, “I am pleased that, once again, PRIA has addressed another issue facing recorders and their business partners providing them with a valuable set of tools to assess their offices’ and clients’ needs into the future.”

About PRIA
The Property Records Industry Association (PRIA) develops and promotes national standards and best practices for the property records industry. PRIA is a coalition of government and business partners collaborating on issues of common interest. PRIA strives to identify areas of consensus within the industry, leading to recommendations for national standards and practices pertaining to recordable documents. For more information on PRIA, visit