Balisage Paper: Organizational and Funding Options for Markup Vocabulary Creation and Maintenance
National Information Standards Organization (NISO)
Todd Carpenter is Executive Director of the National Information Standards Organization (NISO). NISO has standardized a variety of document systems and structures, such as JATS, NISO STS, DAISY Digital Talking Book, and the Authoring and Interchange Framework for Adaptive XML Publishing Specification, as well as various metadata and identifier systems. Since 2008, he has served as Secretary of the ISO/TC 46/SC 9 - Identification and Description, as well as the Chair of the US Technical Advisory Group (TAG) for ISO TC 46 - Information & Documentation. He also recently took over responsibility for chairing the US TAG for ISO/IEC JTC1/SC34 - Document description and processing languages.
There are many ways to create a markup vocabulary and many forums in which it can be done. Creating and maintaining markup vocabularies requires significant ongoing volunteer time and effort, significant funding, or both. In light of this, it often makes sense for a multi-institution group to undertake the creation and management process, particularly when interchange is a goal. The community has examples of this consensus model, such as the TEI (which was created by a grant-supported project and is maintained by a consortium created for the purpose) and the STS (which was originally a derivative of JATS, further developed by ISO, and then donated to NISO for the establishment of consensus and for maintenance). Selection of an organizational home and source of funding can have marked effects on vocabularies. The organizational structure affects representation, who has a voice in the process, intellectual property concerns (e.g., patents, copyrights, other standards), and decision making policies. Costs involved in creating and maintaining markup vocabularies begin at conception and continue through development into maintenance and promotion. These costs include editing, hosting, publishing and distribution, and management of the standards process. Real-world examples of the organization and funding of successful markup vocabularies will provide patterns others may find useful.