Following on the heels of yesterday’s set of open standards recommendations to the Obama administration by the Information Society Project at Yale Law School, the Open Document Format Alliance has offered its own recommendations in the area of open standards for document formats. In a letter sent to Peter Orszag, Director of the Office of Management and Budget, the Alliance suggested, in part, that the administration
1) Direct executive departments and agencies to use universally accessible document formats as part of the Open Government Directive called for by the Executive Order on Transparency and Open Government issued by President Obama on January 21, 2009. The Order directs the Chief Technology Officer to coordinate the development of recommendations to executive departments and agencies to take specific actions implementing the principles of transparent, participatory, and collaborative government. Requiring the use of universally accessible document formats – namely ODF, PDF, and HTML – could be easily implemented with existing, competing (even free) technologies and would result in immediate benefits for citizens, including greater transparency, easier access to information today and in the future, and more choice on software to access this information.
2) Convene an inter-agency working group to create policies and guidelines regarding the use of open standards and universally acceptable document formats to enhance interoperability. These policies and guidelines would form the basis of an interoperability framework that details how interoperability will be achieved among government agencies and with citizens, maximizing the efficiency in the exchange, management, and reuse of data.
3) Review and modify regulations on software procurement and its use to ensure adherence to open standards and universally acceptable document formats. In addition to clear and consistent policies and guidelines, software procurement regulations should recognize open standards and universally acceptable document formats as a critical step to creating a level playing field for government contracting while saving taxpayer dollars and enabling a smarter government.