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  • Uploaded on Standards Panel: Reflections on 10+ Years of Standards Work. About This Talk This talk gives a brief summary of Brian Kelly’s involvement in standards work since the mid 1990s and reflections on these experiences.

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standards panel reflections on 10 years of standards work

Standards Panel: Reflections on 10+ Years of Standards Work

About This Talk

This talk gives a brief summary of Brian Kelly’s involvement in standards work since the mid 1990s and reflections on these experiences.

Brian Kelly


University of Bath

Bath, BA2 7AY


[email protected]

Resources bookmarked using ‘sca-home-nation-tour-2008' tag

UKOLN is supported by:

This work is licensed under a Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 licence (but note caveat)

about me and about ukoln
About Me and About UKOLN
  • Brian Kelly:
    • UK Web Focus: a Web advisory post based at UKOLN
    • Funded by JISC and MLA to advise HE/FE and cultural heritage sectors
    • Web developer since Jan 1993
    • Involved with JISC Standards work since 1995
  • UKOLN:
    • National centre of expertise in digital information management
    • Located at the University of Bath
the elib years
The eLib Years
  • eLib Programme
    • Large-scale JISC-funded programme
    • Ran from 1996-2000?
  • Standards for eLib projects documented:
    • V 1.0 published in Feb 1995 / V 2.0 in Oct 1998
    • See
  • Document refers to:
    • CGM • SGML
    • IAFA/whois++ • Z39.50
    • URLs and URNs • VRML

“eLib projects are expected to provide a URL for public services, and a URN when these become stable“

nof digi experiences
NOF-Digi Experiences
  • NOF-Digi:
    • Lottery money to digitise and provide access to cultural resources
    • Technical Advisory Service provided by UKOLN & AHDS
  • Standards document:
    • Based on eLib/DNER Standards document
    • No longer available on People’s Network Site 
  • Experiences:
    • Valuable learning experience for cultural heritage orgs
    • Standards sometimes too theoretical so ‘escape clause’ (migration strategy) developed – documented reasons for non-conformance & plans for migration to open standards needed in project reports
developing a qa framework
Developing A QA Framework
  • QA Focus:
    • JISC-funded project
    • Provided by UKOLN and TASI/AHDS
  • Aim:
    • Develop QA framework for JISC development projects
    • Provide recommendations on compliance regime for standards i.e. what does must mean?
  • Findings:
    • Uncertainty as to what is meant by an ‘open standard’
    • Diversity of deliverables, approaches, expertise, effort, …
  • What is an open standard?
    • RSS (1.0/2.0) • PDF
    • MS Word
  • What are the alternatives to open standards?
    • Do nothing?
    • Use something that’s not (yet) an open standard but isn’t owned by a company (‘my standard’)
    • Invent an open standard
    • Something else?
  • What about adopting popular patterns of use:
    • Web Services standards vs REST architectural approach (nb criticisms of WS* complexities & popularity of latter in Amazon)
characteristics of open standards
Characteristics Of Open Standards
  • EMII-DCF characteristics of open standard:
    • Open access (to the standard itself and to documents produced during its development)
    • Open use (implementing the standard incurs no or little cost for IPR, through licensing, for example)
    • Ongoing support driven by requirements of the user not the interests of the standard provider
  • EU definition:
    • The standard is adopted and will be maintained by a not-for-profit organization
    • The standard specification document is available either freely or at a nominal charge
    • The intellectual property of the standard is made irrevocably available on a royalty free basis
    • No constraints on the re-use of the standard
what do we really want
What Do We Really Want?
  • Do we want:
    • Open standards?
    • The benefits promised by open standards: application- and device- independence, freedom from vendor pressures, …?
  • Do we want:
    • The cost savings promised by vendor-independent standards?
    • The costs associated with deploying new standards?
  • How do we reconcile:
    • A user-centred approach to IT development?
    • A developer-led approach to IT development?
changing environment
Changing Environment
  • Experiences from mid-1990s:
    • Identification of relevant standards
    • Engagement of standards-development
    • Consensus building; reflecting wide range of stake-holders
  • Recent experiences:
    • Web 2.0
    • Using existing, well-established standards
    • Commercial provision of (often popular) services
responding to change
Quality Assurance

External factors: institutional, cultural, legal, …

Context: Policies

Prog. n




Annotated Standards Catalogue





Responding To Change
  • Contextual model developed for JISC by UKOLN’s QA Focus project

Context: Compliance


Self assessment



  • Issues which need to be addressed:
    • Does the evidence demonstrate the success of current approaches to use of standards?
    • Have we learnt from mistakes of the past (cf Coloured Book software)?
    • Does the contextual model provide the flexibility needed?
    • Is this an approach which can be used across a range of sectors?