Standards and Communities:
Connected People, Consistent Data, Usable Applications
Abstract: Standards are one of the cornerstones of the connected world, allowing independently developed systems and data to interoperate without bilateral agreements. Yet standards are not worth the free github repository they’re written in if no one implements them. What makes some specifications, endorsed by a recognized standards body or not, rise to the top and see broad adoption, while others languish, unloved, deep in the IETF, W3C, or ISO document management platforms? This presentation explores the connection between standards and the communities that need them, and the processes those communities and standards bodies have used to attempt to stay in touch with their potential user base. There is always a trade-off between completeness and usability, between production and consumption, between general market and specific needs of a community. The art of standards is walking the fine line for each of these, and having enough visibility in the community to have the right people at the table at the right time. With an emphasis on IIIF and Linked Open Data oriented technologies, but relating back to digital library efforts such as Z39.50, SRU and OAI-PMH, we will look at how the balance between community engagement, ease of implementation and usability needs to be balanced against meeting technical requirements and delivering a well-tested, broadly implemented ecosystem to enable researchers and enthusiasts to engage with cultural heritage and scientific literature.