Open data standards are at the heart of our work. But not just any technical standards: standards that bridge between policy and technology worlds.

Over the years we’ve picked up lots of learning and insights on approaches to support standard development and adoption, but we’ve rarely had chance to capture and write up that learning. Which is why we were delighted to take part last year in the Open Data Institute’s Open Standards for Data project.

Along with W3C, Open North and Porism, we were asked to reflect on and document our processes for standards creation and adoption. We also took the opportunity in the process to bring together many of the partners we’ve worked with to share learning together, and to discuss some of the trickier issues of policy-focussed standards, such as internationalisation and translation, and managing revision processes.

The result of that can be found in our draft Standards Lab handbook, a living resource that steps through the different stages of designing, developing, maintaining and supporting adoption of an open standard. In the handbook, you will find a growing library of components and patterns that may be part of that process.

As we say in our summary report:

“Each standard is different - and there is no one-size-fits-all approach to standard development.”

So the real challenge of standard development is fitting the puzzle pieces together in a way that works for the available resources, standard maturity, political context, and technical realities around it.

You can see more of the pattern approach summarised in the slide deck below, from the feedback workshop in December.

As we head into 2018 we’ll be continuing to develop the handbook, and to blog about some of the insights generated through the Open Standards for Data project.

Project outputs

Thank you once again to the Open Data Institute, and the funders of this work, Innovate UK, for the support and facilitation of this project.