Review of open standards for government documents launched

The government has launched a peer-review process to help pin down the best open standards to be used for document formats.

It is hoped that the use of open standards will make it easier for citizens to access and work with the information published by government departments, whilst also making easier for the public sector to share documents and work collaboratively.

A number of challenges have been posted on the government’s ‘Standards Hub’, which outlines the problems currently facing users trying to read or work on documents. These include viewing government documents, sharing documents, interoperability for end user devices, and publishing data on government spending.

Those with a view on what open standards would be most appropriate for any of the given challenges are being invited to give feedback via the Standards Hub. A final recommendation will be made by the Open Standards Board, which includes a number of experts form inside and outside government.

“We need government information to be as accessible and easy to use as possible if we are going to win the global race,” said Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude.

“We also want to help government organisations to work together more efficiently. That’s why we know that agreeing open standards for document formats will be a big step forward.”

He added: “To find the best open standards for government we want to encourage an open and informed debate. We set up the Open Standards Board to identify the standards needed for users of government information and services.”

In similar news, the Cabinet Office recently announced a reduction in the number of Whitehall security classification levels from six, to just three: Top Secret, Secret, and Official.

It hopes that this will bring a system, which hasn’t changed since World War II, into a digital age, allowing information to be shared easily on standardised IT.

Copyright © 2013 IDG Communications, Inc.

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