Optical Character Recognition (OCR)
OCR PDF copies are electronic conversions of scanned images of printed text into encoded text. These texts can be electronically searched and stored more compactly.
Portable Document Format (PDF)
Basic PDF files come in two primary formats – non-linear (not “optimized”) and linear (“optimized”). Non-linear files consume less disk space than linear files, but are slower to access. Linear files can be read in a Web browser plug-in without waiting for the entire file to download, since they are written to disk in a linear (as in page order) fashion.
Since Federal and State Appellate Courts now file electronic documents, it only makes sense to file OCR PDF copies. These document types are the only way to comply with the text-searchable requirements of most appellate courts. A scanned PDF version, while viewable, cannot be searched, and will not comply.
As we here at PrintingHouse Press file many electronic copies with NY Appellate and Federal Courts nationwide, a common problem has arisen with these filings. After a searchable, OCR-compliant PDF document is produced, it cannot be altered in any way prior to filing. A scanning of the document and production of a “new” PDF copy for filing causes the document to lose all of its text-searchable characteristics, and will cause rejection by the clerk in whatever court the filing is taking place.
Basically, the difference here is that the OCR PDF copy can be used in a more functional way than a standard PDF copy. While both allow large tracts to be electronically moved faster and easier, only the OCR version will be searchable by the user.