Standardization, Not Standards, Matters

Standardization, Not Standards, Matters

Carl Frederick Cargill (Adobe Inc., USA)
Copyright: © 2016 |Pages: 15
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-9737-9.ch002
OnDemand PDF Download:
No Current Special Offers


This chapter looks at ways to actually use the art of Standardization (since there is not enough data to make this a discipline yet) within the Information Technology sector and within a commercial organization to effect change of some type. Note that this is not about Standards - which are relatively sterile documents - but rather a description of how to manage (some might say manipulate) cooperative action which will result, in some manner, in a Standard which can be used to create Standardization to further a defined policy, legal, social, or business management goal.
Chapter Preview


Standards, and standardization, are now a fact of life in all industries globally. With the growth of the linked global economy, and with the dependence of industry on the World Wide Web and the Internet for information, the importance of standards has increased substantially over the last 20 years. While it can be argued that telecommunications (with their implicit standards and standardization) have been present since the early 1900s I would argue that the use of the web for everything from retail to supply chain management to personal entertainment devices has dwarfed the importance of the earlier telecommunications standardization activity.

Most importantly, nearly all of the Information Technology standards which are the basis of current computing are voluntary standards created by the IT industry. There is a deliberate exclusion of telecommunications standards here, since many of them, although created by a voluntary process, end up being utilized in a regulatory (or at least highly regulated) telecommunications environment. It is this distinction – the use and creation of voluntary, industry led, consensus standards as opposed to regulated or governmentally influenced standards – that has made standards less than a discipline and more of an art form, leading, in turn, to a lack of both predictability and serious academic study.

To understand the whole issue, it is first necessary to look at the document called a “standard”. In this article, I will ignore “management standards” and similar types of documents, since they tend to describe best practices garnered from participants in a singular practice (quality, environment, security). What I’d like to look at is “technical specifications” – that is, documents that describe some specific technology. As an example, the following is part of a technical specification (W3C HTML 5 specification):

Complete Chapter List

Search this Book: