Why are standards for content management necessary?
The essential reason is that digital information by its very nature
is portable; it can be constituted and re-constituted, chunked-down
and aggregated, and, when modularized into standard bits, is easily
assembled. Without standard content formats and methods of management
content, marketplaces cannot mature.
It will also be important to consider how to maintain
the value of content over the longer term. One problem here is the
existence of well-meant initiatives to reduce the importance of
consistency and the dominance of particular languages and spellings.
As an example, the Web site freespeling.com (with only one "l"
in spelling) argues for freedom to choose new spellings; its surveys
indicate a preference for FREND rather than friend, HITE for height,
and KAOS for chaos. And kaos is what would result for content management
if we experienced significant linguistic drift.
Learner Information. Standards associated
with learner information involve technologies that support unique
identification and authentication, and thereby provide performance
support and portability of student information within e-learning
courseware and between institutions. Standard formats for learner
information enable different system components to share information
Security. Remember the days not so long
ago when online banking was still just a possibility because adequate
security infrastructures were not yet developed? The single reason
why online banking services, and e-business more broadly, is now
widely accepted is because the security systems are in place. Trusted
mechanisms that protect data and networks from un-authorized access
are, of course, not specific to e-knowledge but theyre critical
if the e-Knowledge Industries are to flourish.
There are many standards already developed in this
area and many under development they range from enterprise
firewall systems to digital signatures and unique ID and password
combinations. Without well-developed security technologies (including
standards and protocols), the Web of Trust that is envisioned
by the World Wide Web Consortium as a pinnacle of development will
not be achieved.
Enterprise Systems Integration. From
an enterprise (including institutional or organizational) perspective,
a key area of standardization is to do with systems integration.
Without systems integration and interoperability, full service implementation
cannot take place. Technologies such as Web services (mentioned
earlier) will be important here. Integration needs to span a wide
range of systems that include networking and communications, learning
platforms, content management, knowledge management, human resource
development, customer relationship manage- ment, enterprise resource
planning, rights management, directory services, and repositories
of various other kinds.
Organizational Workflow. Related closely
to enterprise systems integration, organizational workflow standards
are critical to developing robust mechanisms for knowledge management.
However, with workflow and knowledge management standards, the emphasis
is upon the flow of information and how to automate it where appropriate.
It is about automating proven procedure and enhancing organizational
efficiency and professional productivity.
The above synopsis is in no way intended to be exhaustive.
The very nature of innovation within the digital world is that new
technologies and, hence, standards will continue to develop as a
result of previous practice.