Benefits, Classifications and Research Surrounding Standardization and IT Standards

Benefits, Classifications and Research Surrounding Standardization and IT Standards

Josephine Wapakabulo Thomas (Rolls-Royce, UK)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-832-1.ch002
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Abstract

Standards have been in existence since the beginning of recorded history. One of the earliest indications of a standard is the beginning of written alphabets by the Egyptians and Babylonians around 4000 BC (Krechmer, 1996). Another example of early standards effort is the work done by Shih Huang-Ti, the founder of the Chinese Empire, under whose reign the Great Wall was built. He enforced one law, one weight, and one measure to rule out discord and confusion between petty states. The standards proposed by the Chinese Emperor were used only for the construction of the Great Wall and are no longer used today, but the testament of his efforts are still seen today. (Perry, 1955 as cited in Deshpande & Nazemetz, 2003a) The term “standard” has multiple definitions. Indeed the Oxford English dictionary offers up to thirty different definitions of the word “standard” (OED Online, 2005). However, a commonly cited definition is one offered by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), which defines a standard as: “A document, established by consensus and approved by a recognized body, that provides, for common and repeated use, rules, guidelines, or characteristics for activities or their results, aimed at the achievement of the optimum degree of order in a given context” (ISO/IEC, 1996). Although this definition sheds light on what a standard is, it does not give an indication of the multiple dimensions of a standard. These additional dimensions relate to issues like how a standard is developed, when a standard is developed and why a standard emerges. The remainder of this section addresses some of these dimensions by looking at the standardization process, the benefits of standardization and the classification of standards.
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Introduction

Standards have been in existence since the beginning of recorded history. One of the earliest indications of a standard is the beginning of written alphabets by the Egyptians and Babylonians around 4000 BC (Krechmer, 1996). Another example of early standards effort is the work done by Shih Huang-Ti, the founder of the Chinese Empire, under whose reign the Great Wall was built. He enforced one law, one weight, and one measure to rule out discord and confusion between petty states. The standards proposed by the Chinese Emperor were used only for the construction of the Great Wall and are no longer used today, but the testament of his efforts are still seen today. (Perry, 1955 as cited in Deshpande & Nazemetz, 2003a)

The term “standard” has multiple definitions. Indeed the Oxford English dictionary offers up to thirty different definitions of the word “standard” (OED Online, 2005). However, a commonly cited definition is one offered by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), which defines a standard as: “A document, established by consensus and approved by a recognized body, that provides, for common and repeated use, rules, guidelines, or characteristics for activities or their results, aimed at the achievement of the optimum degree of order in a given context” (ISO/IEC, 1996).

Although this definition sheds light on what a standard is, it does not give an indication of the multiple dimensions of a standard. These additional dimensions relate to issues like how a standard is developed, when a standard is developed and why a standard emerges. The remainder of this section addresses some of these dimensions by looking at the standardization process, the benefits of standardization and the classification of standards.

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