Open content depends on open standards

Creative Commons (CC) pioneered broad awareness of the need and value of open content publishing and sharing. By providing a set of licenses that let authors clearly choose how and under what conditions to make their content freely available, CC also made it easier.

Open content is dependent on the formats used to publish it for how “open” it truly is. Open content published in a proprietary format supported only by a single-vendor proprietary application is only as open as that single-vendor chooses to make it. E.g. open content authored in and published in its default is not “open” to Macintosh users (even converters have problems). Such open content is essentially held hostage by the sole application (and the sole platform family that it runs on) that supports that format. In addition, if the sole vendor in this case chooses to stop supporting that sole application, then open content in that format becomes dead content. More on that in a future post on “data longevity“.

Content is most easily, reliably, and broadly shared when the formats used by such content are as open as possible. Truly open formats encourage the maximum amount of documentation (from syndicated blog posts to professionally published books), and interoperable implementations (from open source to proprietary for-profit) of such formats. I encourage everyone developing open standards to make them as open as possible, by taking the same steps we have taken with microformats, and thus better enabling open content, and the thereof.

3 Responses to “Open content depends on open standards”

  1. Microformats | weblog | Building open textual content on HTML :

    [...] in history for the open publishing and sharing of content. Focusing efforts to promote and enable open content on the Web first and foremost (rather than say, proprietary data warehouses and corporate [...]

    January 5th, 2008 at 1:15 am

  2. les microformateurs » Tantek Çelik : Le Contenu ouvert dépend des standards ouverts :

    [...] d’un billet de Tantek publié le 3 janvier dernier sur le blog des microformats. Seul le lien original fait référence. Vous pouvez aider à raffiner cette première ébauche de traduction en éditant directement le [...]

    January 6th, 2008 at 11:41 am

  3. Mickipedia » Blog Archive » My bookmarks for January 4th through January 15th :

    [...] Microformats | weblog | Open content depends on open standards – Creative Commons is not enough. We need open standards for the formats we use to publish our content. [...]

    January 15th, 2008 at 4:34 pm