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An Approach To Standards:
A Presentation For CIE Partners
Brian Kelly                                     About This Talk
UKOLN                                           This talk describes:
University of Bath                               • The difficulties in using
Bath                                               open standards
Email                                            • The layered approach
B.Kelly@ukoln.ac.uk                                developed for JISC
                                                 • The applicability of this
                                                   approach for the CIE

UKOLN is supported by:

A centre of expertise in digital information management          www.ukoln.ac.uk
    Background   Background
                 JISC development work:
                    • Traditionally based on use of open standards to:
                             Support interoperability
                             Maximise accessibility
                             Avoid vendor lock-in
                             Provide architectural integrity
                             Help ensure long-term preservation
                 History:
                    • eLib Standards document (v1 – 1996, v2 – 1998)
                    • DNER Standards document (2001)
                 which influenced:
                    • NOF-digi Technical Standards
                    • ..
                 A centre of expertise in digital information management   www.ukoln.ac.uk
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    Background   Lessons Learnt
                 Experiences of the QA Focus (and NOF-digi
                 Technical Advisory Service) revealed problems:
                      • Lack of knowledge of standards
                      • Immaturity of standards
                      • Failure for standards to take off
                      • Difficulties when building on existing work
                      • Uncertainty of what to do if standards not
                          implemented correctly
                      • Lack of resources
                      • Lack of understanding (why, how, best
                          practices, …)
                      • …
                 A centre of expertise in digital information management www.ukoln.ac.uk
3
    Background   Need For Flexibility
                 A need for flexibility (lessons from OSI networking):
                    • Is Web (for example) is becoming over-complex?
                    • Lighter-weight alternatives being developed
                    • Responses from the commercial world

                 Compliance Issues
                 What does must mean?
                   • .. must comply with HTML standards
                          What if I don't? What if nobody does?
                   • .. must clear rights on digitised resources
                   • .. must provide properly audited accounts

                 There's a need to clarify meaning of must and for an
                 understandable & reasonable compliance regime
                 A centre of expertise in digital information management www.ukoln.ac.uk
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    Contextual Approach   The Context
                          There will be a context to use of standards:
                             • The intended use:
                                      Mainstream                Innovative / research
                                      Key middleware component  Small-scale deliverable
                               • Available Funding & Resources:
                                      Significant funding & training to make use of important
                                       new standards
                                      Minimal funding - current skills should be used
                               • Organisational culture:
                                      HE vs FE
                                      National museum vs small, volunteer organisation
                               • Cross-organisational cultural issues:
                                      Multimedia (BBC)                              E-learning (BECTa/JISC)
                               • …
                          A centre of expertise in digital information management                www.ukoln.ac.uk
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    Layered Approach to Standards
    xxx




                           Policies (Catalogue?)
                                                              OSS




    A centre of expertise in digital information management         www.ukoln.ac.uk
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    Contextual Approach   Scope Of The Standards Work
                          What should the scope of Standards Catalogue be:
                            • CIE development programmes
                            • All work
                            • …
                          Content areas will include:
                            • Web                      File formats
                            • Metadata                 Resource discovery
                            • E-learning               Addressing
                            • Alerting                 Authentication
                            • E-Research               …
                          What else?

                          A centre of expertise in digital information management   www.ukoln.ac.uk
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            Implementation
            How might this approach be used in practice?
    Development Programme                                 Report     JISC Service
    Committees         Advisers
                                                         JISC         JISC
                   Programme                             Manager      Manager
                   Team

Programme XX Call / Contract                              Contract     Contract
    Proposals must comply with XYZ standard
                                                 Report must          Service must …
    Proposals should seek to comply with XYZ                          Services must
    Proposals should describe approach to XYZ    be in MS
                                                 Word / … and         self-assess …
    Projects audited to ensure compliance with … use JISC             and highlight
    Projects should develop self-assessment      template             significant
     procedures and submit findings to JISC                           deviations from
                                                 …
    Projects should submit proposed approach                          …
     for approval/information digital information management
            A centre of expertise in                                  www.ukoln.ac.uk
8
             Collating The Content
                                                   We are using a Wiki to
                                                   collect information about
                                                   the standards:
                                                     • Being used by a small
                                                       groups of trusted
                                                       individuals
                                                     • Avoids bottleneck for
                                                       uploading and
                                                       maintaining content
                                                   Note: the Wiki is used for
                                                   creation & maintenance of
                                                   the data and is not intended
                                                   as the final repository
    At this stage, a simple template will be used.
              be enhanced in future iterations.
    This cancentre of expertise in digital information management
            A                                                       www.ukoln.ac.uk
9
     Contextual Approach   Scope / Differences
                           Scope of the standards catalogue
                                • Initially technical standards which support
                                    interoperability across CIE partners (i.e. not in-
                                    house Schemas)
                                • Initially avoid best practices and guidelines in use
                                    of standards?
                           Handling Differences
                                • Template provides mechanism for flagging
                                    subjective comments (e.g. maturity of standards)
                                • Work does not aim at reconciling differences
                                • Do we flag conflicts with the catalogue: "There are
                                    conflicts over Foo vs Bar"; "JISC say 'Foo' but
                                    BECTa say "Bar"?; …
                                • Do we park the conflicts for others to resolve (and
                                    this exercise helps identify
                           A centre of expertise in digital information management the areas)? www.ukoln.ac.uk
10
     End Of Part 1
     Any questions?




     A centre of expertise in digital information management   www.ukoln.ac.uk
11
 Part 2:
 Deployment And Support
 Infrastructure




A centre of expertise in digital information management   www.ukoln.ac.uk
     Contextual Approach   Publishing The Content
                           The Standards Catalogue:
                                • Needs to be available as a document which can
                                    be easily read
                                • Data should be reusable and interoperable:
                                        JISC Framework environment
                                        For CIE
                                       …
                           Plans:
                                • Version 1 available as document
                                • Data ported to CETIS's Framework software
                           We are currently talking to CETIS about this
                                • Is it possible?
                                • What are the resources implications?
13
                                • …
                           A centre of expertise in digital information management www.ukoln.ac.uk
     Standards For The CIE   Building On The Work
                             The JISC work can form the basis of similar
                             work for the CIE (Common Information
                             Environment):
                               • Working with MLA, BBC, BECTA, …
                               • Pooling existing resources
                               • Identifying areas of agreement and
                                 diversity

                                 Note that the CIE work will not aim to reconcile
                                 differences, but to identify those areas


                             A centre of expertise in digital information management   www.ukoln.ac.uk
14
      Standards For The CIE   Standards Catalogue Process
                              There's a need for developing and enhancing the
                              standards catalogue in order to:
                                 • Update with new standards
                                 • Learn from feedback and experiences

                                  Context         Review          Support
                                                               Infrastructure
                                                                          QA
                                  Policies                             Framework
                                                  Framework
                                                 Standards
                                                                         User
                                                  Standards
                                                                      Experiences
                                Compliance            …
                                                                 Funder's
                                                                Experiences
     The Standards Catalogue can be integrated with the JISC's 'Framework'
            A centre of expertise in digital information management www.ukoln.ac.uk
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     Standards For The CIE   Access Issues
                             A single central repository or a distributed approach?




                                                                           Context          Context



                                                                                       Catalogue
                                       Catalogue




                             A centre of expertise in digital information management               www.ukoln.ac.uk
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            The Bigger Picture
     The vision is for:
                                           Software         Use
      • Modularity in approaches
        to standards, accessibility,   Accessibility
                                           Context          Evaluation
        software, digitisation, ..   Standards
                                       Context
                                           Policies         Feedback
      • Feedback mechanisms          Context
                                       Policies
                                           Compliance       Enhance
        to help refine model and
        advice                         Compliance
                                     Policies
      • Support infrastructure for Compliance
        funders, projects & 3rd
        parties on model and
        best practices through          Support
        sharing via briefing
                                        To Funders Projects 3rd Parties
        documents, case studies,
        events, maximising              On Processes     Best practices
        benefits through Creative By Docs Events CC licences
17
             A centre expertise in
        Commonsoflicences digital information management    www.ukoln.ac.uk
     Standards For The CIE   Lessons About Support
                             Lessons from JISC/NOF-digi programmes:
                               • Importance of being able to repurpose
                                 support resources
                               • Need to avoid embedding generic advice
                                 with programme-specific details
                               • IPR issues for support materials

                                                     Support
                                                     Context
                                                     Advice

                             A centre of expertise in digital information management   www.ukoln.ac.uk
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     Standards For The CIE   Support Infrastructure
                             Need for a support infrastructure which covers:
                               • Advice to Funders: Putting together Calls,
                                   Evaluation Criteria, Contracts, etc
                               • Advice to Projects: Why the standards are
                                   needed; Pros and cons of deployment strategies;
                                   Ways of ensuring standards are being
                                   implemented correctly
                             We'll build on UKOLN/AHDS QA Focus work:
                               • 80+ briefing documents and 30+ case studies
                                   published
                               • Licensed under Creative Commons

                                  Can CIE partners contribute to this?
                                  Will sharing technical support materials be less
                                  contentious than cultural heritage resources?
                             A centre of expertise in digital information management   www.ukoln.ac.uk
19
     Conclusions
     To conclude:
        • Approach to developing standards catalogue
          based on QA Focus's experiences and JISC-
          commissioned review
        • Acknowledges importance of context
        • Allows for hard-line implementation (which is
          needed in some areas)
        • Can be developed within a CIE context
        • Need to consider wider support infrastructure
        • This will be an ongoing process



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