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Legal Aspects of archiving XML/XSL documents

From: Jörg Sukop <j.sukop@web.de>
Date: Tue, 6 Aug 2002 19:37:30 -0400 (EDT)
Message-Id: <200208062336.g76NaqX11904@mailgate5.cinetic.de>
To: www-xsl-fo@w3.org
Cc: j.sukop@vwfsag.de

Are there any statements regarding to legal aspects of long-term archiving of xsl-fo documents?

My intention is to use xml as the data-format for long-term archiving of outgoing business documents (e.g. invoices, banking statements, (personalized) contracts).

The idea is to archive each document as pure netto data described in a xml-format. For presentation xsl should be used. To be able to recreate the layouted document at any time the xsl template-definition (form, stylesheet, transformation script or whatever you want to call it) or the xsl-fo document has to be archived as well.

In case of archiving the xsl template the xml netto-document has to be linked tightly to the corresponding version of xsl template. This can be done by archiving a copy of the current xsl template version directly together with each xml netto document or by archiving only one instance of the xsl template and referencing it in each xml netto document. When there is a requests for the formatted document the rendetion has to be created on demand.

In case of archiving the xsl-fo document it should be archived directly with it´s xml netto source. This solution would take more storage space but the on demand rendering would be much faster.

I am uncertain if xml is really suitable for long-term archiving under legal aspects especially in germany. In germany we have to be compliant with so called GoBS (generally accepted principles for electronic accounting systems). If a court accepts electronically archived documents instead of paper originals is left to the judge´s discretion. There are no precedents for xml documents but there are several for pdf, ascii or tiff documents.

In these scenarios:

Is it possible to guarantee that there will be no difference in layout and content of a printed/rendered document no matter if it is printed immediately or after 10 years?
I think this is another question for: How stable in time and how conform to the currently recommendation do you think are the implementations of XSL-processors and of rendition-engines?

Is it possible to embed layout resources as e.g. fonts inside xsl-fo documents?

Thank you in advance for hints, ideas etc.

Jörg Sukop
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Received on Tuesday, 6 August 2002 20:56:13 UTC

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