A Contextual Framework For Standards
This paper describes a layered approach to selection and use of open standards which is being developed to support development work within the UK higher and further educational communities. This approach reflects the diversity of the technical environment, the service provider's environment, user requirements and maturity of standards by separating contextual aspects; technical and non-technical policies; the selection of appropriate solutions and the compliance layer. To place the layered approach in context, case studies are provided of the types of environments in which the standards framework can be implemented. The paper describes how this contextual approach can be extended to address other areas such as Web accessibility and use of open source software. Use of a common model can provide consistent approaches by funding bodies and shared understanding for developers. This contextual approach is being extended to support development work with other public sector organizations within the UK. We describe how the approach is well-suited to ensure common ways of working across disparate sets of organizations and how the approach can be applied within a wider context.