Creating and maintaining open standards

My company, Porism, is really pleased to launch a new open guide to data standards. It covers processes for open standards, helping you to identify why and when you might need them, and how to go about creating standards. We describe some of the technicalities of creating data standards, their metadata and properties. And we also share resources to help with data modelling, expressing a standard in different formats, and validation of data against a standard.

Described by Paul Davidson of iStandUK as a ‘state of the standards nation’, the guide draws together lessons learnt in English local government, where standardisation is important for people who want to combine datasets from the 353 councils.

We’re really grateful to the Open Data Institute (ODI) who commissioned our work and will be using it to inform their planned guidebook on open standards. The ODI brought together people from Porism, open data services, OpenNorth and W3C to compare experiences and challenge our approaches to standardising data.

One output of that collaboration is our 5 tips for making a standard succeed.

The standards content is of course open. You can view it on GitHub and suggest changes there or via Twitter. This is just the start. We’ll make the content richer and cross-reference new resources as they emerge from the ODI and elsewhere.

As the year ends, I’m heartened to feel that people are starting to see how essential standards are if we are to mine the value of open from many local publishers. They get how pioneering the work of the Local Government Association has been in associating datasets with schemas and aggregating like datasets to give a national view.

For a standards ecosystem to work, we need a wide gene pool from which an agreed (not imposed) way of achieving useful standards can evolve. Let’s make that work in 2018.