Monday, November 07, 2005

Massachusetts and OpenDocument

Massachusetts is leading the nation in an attempt to improve the current and future availability of public documents. The state's Information Technology Division has written a document called Enterprise Technical Reference Model v.3.5. The "Information Domain" portion of the document includes a vision statement which says, in part, "Electronic records are preserved in open formats that allow for optimal electronic records conservation and availability to the public over long periods of time." Open formats are defined as "specifications for data file formats that are based on an underlying open standard, developed by an open community, affirmed and maintained by a standards body and are fully documented and publicly available." The document itself is highly technical, but fortunately much has been written about it, so we can gain an understanding of what it means to state agencies. A great place to start is The Cover Pages, which provides a summary of the standard.