AIIM Standards Program

Interested in helping to develop best practice? Want to share your knowledge and learn at the same time? Come join the Standards team and develop information management standards and best practices.

AIIM Standards

AIIM is the official Standards Development Organization (SDO) for Content and Information Management standards authorized by ANSI. It is the goal of the AIIM Standards Program to support and represent the U.S. interests at the ISO level.

Through its involvement in the development of PDF, Portable Document Format, standards, AIIM is becoming the leading authority in PDF standards.

ECM Standards Committees


Get Involved in Standards

Anyone can participate in the Standards Committees. Visit the 3D PDF Consortium.

Start today! Get involved!


Betsy Fanning 


ECM Standards

Policies & Procedures

Standards Development Process

Our Policies and Procedures provide a mechanism for the management and coordination of the AIIM Standards Program. AIIM’s Standards Program was reaccredited by ANSI as of April 1, 2016. 

Links for 

2016 AIIM Standards Policies and Procedures

AIIIM Recommended  Practice Procedures

Tools for developing standards:

AIIM Project Proposal Form

Standards and Standards Recommended Practice Template

Technical Report Template

Best Practice Template


PDF Standards for Documents

AIIM as PDF Standards Authority

PDF for Documents

In 2000, AIIM began work on PDF standards development. Since then, AIIM has become the leading PDF Standards development organization with the following PDF standards projects:

  • PDF/Archive
  • PDF/Engineering
  • PDF/Universal Access
  • PDF Healthcare
  • PDF Specification (formerly PDF Reference 1.7)

The AIIM Standards Program is always open to new standards topics. If you have an idea for an area that needs standardization, please send an email to the Director of Standards at

AIIM Standards History

AIIM's Standards Program began developing standards in the early 1960s as a subcommittee of the American Library Association. After gaining experience in developing standards, AIIM became an ANSI accredited standards development organization March 15, 1985. The initial focus of the Standards Program was on micrographic technology. This focus continued until approximately 1988 when digital imaging was introduced to the industry. AIIM responded by forming three committees which focused on image capture, image output, and imaging systems and topics not related to input or output. From here, the program expanded into document management, workflow and now file formats. 

Why should we care?

These questions will help you to better understand why standards are important and why you should care.

Why have standards in our industry?

Standards do a lot for our industry; they:

  • Promote interchangeability of system components which leads to easier adoption
  • Improve performance, increase sales, and grow profits
  • Expand markets through better interoperability and increased credibility
  • Ensure a better success rate and longer system life through the use of vendor products complying with standards
  • Protect vital corporate records and technology investment through interchangeability and open platforms
  • Reduce risk by making implementations easier and more successful

Why is AIIM involved in Standards?

AIIM's Standards Program while providing many values and benefits to the industry also leads to additional members, both Professional and Trade. By attracting attention and increasing participation in standards development the association will improves its brand recognition and helps to position AIIM as the leader in the ECM market and the official standards development organization for ECM in ANSI. This results in an increase in participation in AIIM functions, such as the Conference and Exposition. Better and more ECM standards will also increase vendors' sales, user acceptance, and industry growth, a primary goal of the association. 

How is AIIM involved in Standards?

AIIM hosts twenty-plus Standards committees comprised of volunteers. These working groups meet regularly to:

  • discuss changes in the industry that affect their Standards;
  • regularly review each accredited Standards for relevance and currency;
  • form new groups to discuss and draft Standards related to the latest technology practices.

Over 80 of AIIM's standards, recommended practices, and technical reports have been drafted and approved by ANSI.

AIIM holds the secretariat for ISO/TC 171, Document Management Applications and TC 171 SC2, Document Management Applications, Application Issues.

AIIM is also the administrator for the U.S. Technical Advisory Group (TAG) to ISO TC171, Document Management Applications that represents the United States at international meetings. Participation in this group is limited to individuals who are domiciled in the United States. If you do not live in the U.S. you may participate through your country's standards organization.

What is the scope of AIIM's Standards Program?

The scope of the AIIM Standards Program shall be the standardization of terminology, definitions, sizes, formats, quality, methods of measurement, apparatuses, and procedures for the production, use, and storage and retrieval of structured and unstructured content (documents) and related source data and processes related to enterprise content management (ECM).

How much time does it take to participate?

Worried about a time commitment?  We're flexible!  You can decide your level of commitment--be it editing, writing, and/or attending regular calls and meetings.  

We have many committees developing standards and best practices. Find your niche and start today!

And contact us to talk more about getting involved!  We'd love to connect with you.  Please reach out to our Director of Standards, Betsy Fanning, at today.

Does AIIM reimburse for travel and expenses?

AIIM does not reimburse for travel or expenses associated with participating on any Standards Committees. Therefore, it is important to ensure that your company will support your participation prior to becoming involved. The majority of the meetings are held as conference calls, however, there are occasions when meetings may require travel.

Types of Standards

This will help you more easily understand the types of Standards AIIM produces.

What is a Standard?

A standard is a specification that is set up by an authority as a rule for measuring quality, establishing criterion, or as a model for a general operating practice. They promote interchangeability and improvements of products; while at the same time eliminate misunderstanding or confusion between manufacturers and buyers with respect to products and services. With standards you can effectively streamline processes and trim costs, business can secure a competitive advantage and remain competitive in the face of national and global market changes.

How does the process work? How does AIIM produce a Standard?

The volunteer members of the various AIIM Standards committees and working groups each collaborate, research, and bring best practices to the table. The group then drafts a recommended practice. These documents work their way through their committees getting reviewed and revised until the committee and reviewing public agree that the document is ready to be submitted to ANSI (the American National Standards Institute) for their review and approval.

Because these are industry Standards, there are Policies and Procedures to follow throughout this entire process. But AIIM takes care of the administration of it all, so as a volunteer, you get to concentrate on the creative aspects.

What is due process?

Due process allows for equity and fair play. It means that no obstacles shall be created that prevent anyone with a direct and material interest from forming a viewpoint.

What is an AIIM Recommended Practice?

An AIIM Recommended Practice (ARP) is an industry standards that AIIM is producing. The way the procedures have been developed allow ARPs to be produced in a much shorter time period than the traditional standards. These standards will be made available on the web for no cost for one year. At the end of the year, the standard's value will be assessed against such factors as market relevance and adoption to determine if it is to be submitted to ANSI or ISO for their branding.

What is a Technical Report?

A technical report is tutorial in nature and may be written prior to the development of a formal standard when a technology is too new for standardization. It serves as a guideline - not a rule, to assist the user, vendor or manufacturer in reducing costs, improving quality or marketing their products and services.

What is a Best Practice?

A best practice provides end user guidance as to the most appropriate and often tested or proven method for using a technology or process.

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