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Addressing the Limitations of Open Standards

TitleAddressing the Limitations of Open Standards
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2007
AuthorsKelly, B., Dunning A., & Guy M.
Secondary TitleMuseums and the Web 2007. Proceedings
PublisherArchives & Museum Informatics
Place PublishedToronto, Canada
EditorTrant, J., & Bearman D.
Keywordscommunity, digital libraries, interoperability, open standards, policy, support infrastructure

The importance of open standards in the development of widely accessible and interoperable services in the cultural heritage sector is generally accepted. It might, therefore, be reasonable to assume that use of open standards should be mandatory in the development of networked services. However, experience has shown that the use of open standards is not always straightforward and that open standards do not always succeed in gaining acceptance in the market place.This should not mean an abandonment of a commitment to seek to exploit the benefits of open standards. Rather, there is a need to be honest about possible limitations and to ensure that there is sufficient flexibility within the approaches taken in development work to accommodate limitations and deficiencies.This paper outlines a contextual model for the selection and use of open standards, developed initially to support JISCĂ­s development programmes within the UK higher and further education community. The paper provides background to this work and reviews the current status of the implementation of this approach. Finally, it concludes by describing how this community-based approach to open standards can benefit from a wider acceptance of the contextual model and a collaborative approach both to using existing resources and support materials and to maintaining and developing new resources.