Tomorrow I’ll be attending the CETIS ‘Future of Interoperability Standards Meeting‘ in Bolton on behalf of the SWORD project that I manage as part of my role at UKOLN. Invitees have been to asked to provide a position paper that “… should focus on thoughts or opinions on the experience of developing both formal and informal specifications and standards, working with standards bodies and potential ways forward to achieve interoperability“. This is quite a tricky one for me, as most of the work on the SWORD profile was done by the previous project manager, Julie Allinson in SWORD phase one, and our SWORD partner from the University of Cambridge, Jim Downing for phase two. I had hoped to get Jim along to this meeting, but it wasn’t possible, so I’ll be the main SWORD representative. Consequently, rather than go into the specifics, I’d thought I’d give a few observations from my experience managing the project, these necessarily being more general. Whether this constitutes a position paper, I’m not sure.
- Go with the Web
Mainstream is good. Even if it doesn’t seem to fit, it’s probably a good idea. SWORD went with the Atom Publishing Protocol. It was developed for blogs.
- Do you really need to standardise?
Maybe de-facto is good enough? Why waste time and effort? The DSpace, Fedora, EPrints, Microsoft Zentity and Intralibrary repositories all ship with SWORD in their current releases. Microsoft have adopted SWORD as their de-facto standard for deposit and have implemented it in their ‘Article Authoring Add-in for Word‘. ‘Nuff said.
- Prove a point
Develop some test implementations and demo clients. Show the thing works.
- Be agile
… and don’t be too prescriptive.
- You can never be too simple
Do one simple thing well. Don’t try to do everything. It’s got to be clear.
- Get the message out
Some say that the marketing is the most important thing.
- Don’t just say it, do it
Practice what you preach. You know the quote, there’s too many standards and specifications. Re-cycle. Be strong, don’t re-invent.
- Allow for serendipity
… and embrace it when it happens.
- Don’t go it alone
Get people on board. Bring people with you.
- Having great developers makes life easier
It means you can get things done.