07 June 2007

10 Downing Street Talks Document Formats

Responsible citizen that I am, I signed an e-petition asking that nice Mr Blair to support ODF:

Government documents must be available for tens if not hundreds of years. Currently much electronic documentation is stored in proprietary formats, such as Microsoft's .doc format. In order to allow future generations access to these documents it is imperative that they be in a fully documented standard. Open Document Format (ISO/IEC 26300:2006) is now the international document standard and as such should be supported by the Government.

And here's what he (or just possibly one of his minions) said :

The UK Government champions open standards and interoperability through its e Government Interoperability Framework (eGIF). Where possible the Government only uses products for interoperability that support open standards and specifications in all future IT developments.

Interoperability and open standards also support the sustainability of digital information beyond any single generation of technology. New techniques for digital preservation being developed by The National Archives require the periodic transformation of digital information to new formats as technology changes. Such transformations will be simplified by the adoption of open standards.

No single format provides a universal solution for all types of digital information, and The National Archives therefore actively monitors and evaluates a wide range of existing and emerging formats (including OpenDocument Format). A policy on digital preservation, which includes guidance on the selection of sustainable data formats based on open standards, is being formulated by The National Archives, and will help define the standards for desktop systems. The National Archives technical registry 'PRONOM' (new window) supports this through the provision of key information about the most widely-used formats.

So there we have it.


Anonymous said...

I searched the PRONOM database for "ISO 23600" and "Open Document Format" and produced no result in either case, not even with variations.

Searching for .odt, .odp, .ods, etc. produces a rather out of date result, which in each case fails to mention that these are established international standards.

I wasn't aware of the National Archives web site before, and it looks hugely useful. I've registered my suggestions for improvement, but it always helps if more people do so!

Glyn Moody said...

Yes, I noticed that too when I searched for "ODF". Oh well, it's a start....