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Standards <Meta>Library

Frequently Asked Questions About The Standards Metalibrary

This FAQ tells you what you can expect to find in the Standards MetaLibrary, how to use it effectively, how the Standards MetaLibrary came into being, how it will grow, and much more.


I. Using the Standards MetaLibrary

1. How do I search for information at the Standards MetaLibrary?
2. What citation format does the Standards MetaLibrary use?
3. What else should I know?

II. About the Standards MetaLibrary

1. What is a MetaLibrary?
2. What is the subject matter of the Standards MetaLibrary?
3. What is the purpose of the Standards MetaLibrary?
4. Why was the Standards MetaLibrary created?
5. What is ConsortiumInfo.org?
6. Who created the Standards MetaLibrary?
7. What can we look for next at the Standards MetaLibrary?

III. How you can help build the Standards MetaLibrary

1. What you can do to help


I. Using the Standards MetaLibrary

1. How do I search for information at the Standards MetaLibrary?

The MetaLibrary has a number of features intended to make it easy and useful to use, beginning with the categories and subcategories that can be found at its home page. You may also use the search window on every page to search the entire MetaLibrary by keyword or author name. When you use this feature, the results will be displayed in the order of frequency of their viewing by site visitors, with the most popular articles towards the top. Over time, this will demonstrate which articles visitors have found to be most useful. When you select a subcategory from the Standards MetaLibrary home page, you may chose to sort the entries either alphabetically or by frequency of viewing.

2. What citation format does the Standards MetaLibrary use?

All entries are displayed in MLA citation format.

3. What else should I know?

We have a few predictable disclosures and rules you should bear in mind:

  • All abstracts reproduced at this site and the full text of the articles themselves (which are hosted at other sites) are owned by their respective authors, publishers or other copyright holders. You may not copy or use any of these materials except as permitted by their copyright owners.
  • We have not reviewed any abstract or underlying article for accuracy, currency or originality. As with any other type of library, these materials are presented "as is."
  • While we have applied certain standards in considering what material to include in the MetaLibrary, that material includes non-peer reviewed as well as peer reviewed work. Consequently, you should apply your own appropriate standards in selecting which sources to rely upon, or cite, in conducting your research using the Standards MetaLibrary.
  • Please see the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy for additional disclosures and warranty exclusions.

II. About the Standards MetaLibrary

1. What is a MetaLibrary?

Here is one particularly apt definition:

Metalibrary: An (abstract) metalibrary is the entire collection of a society's data, information, and techniques, together with the means by which it is stored, accessed, and communicated. (Rick Sutcliffe, The Fourth Civilization, 1998)

Just as "meta information" is "information about information" and not useful data in its own right, and "metatags" are hidden codes that help you find a webpage with what you're looking for, a "metalibrary" is a means to an end, and not the end in itself. Instead, it is a very targeted and useful tool for finding specific information. As the volume of material on the Web continues to expand faster than the power of search engines, on-line metalibraries will become more and more useful.

2. What is the subject matter of the Standards MetaLibrary?

Not surprisingly, the Standards MetaLibrary is concerned with standards, but not in a narrow sense. In fact (for now, at least), the Standards MetaLibrary does not contain technical articles at all. Instead, it focuses on the importance of standards to the modern world and their impact on society, and how they are created, and by whom. Why? Because just about everything we own or use, from cell phones to light bulbs, is affordable and usable rather than expensive and useless because of standards. There are over a million supported standards today, created by many hundreds of non-profit standards development organizations.

The materials that we index in our MetaLibrary therefore are concerned with how standards are set, how governments support them, the economic benefits of standards, legal aspects of their use (and abuse), and many other topics that can help us study the role of standards in the world today.

3. What is the purpose of the Standards MetaLibrary?

We believe that standards and standard setting are crucial to the modern world for a broad variety of reasons. Most obviously, they are necessary to make things work. Today, standards enable not only mechanical devices, electronics and telecommunications, but also revolutionary new networks such as the Internet and the Web — unprecedented tools that for the first time can bring knowledge and opportunity directly to the isolated and the poor everywhere around the world. Less obviously, the creation of voluntary, consensus standards is an example of how humanity can work together for the common good — a capability that is all too rarely demonstrated, but always sorely needed (See: A Seasonal Standards Message)

4. Why was the Standards MetaLibrary created?

The Standards MetaLibrary is the latest module of the ConsortiumInfo.org website. Our hope is that the Standards MetaLibrary will not only facilitate, but also encourage outcomes such as:

  • The serious study of the importance of standards
  • The creation and promotion of "best practices" in standards creation
  • The proliferation of course offerings in academia on standards and their creation
  • Greater understanding of standards and standard setting in government, resulting in more coherent and coordinated support of standards

5. What is ConsortiumInfo.org?

ConsortiumInfo.org is the most detailed and comprehensive resource on (or off) the Internet on the topics of standards and standard setting. All resources at the site are free and available to all visitors, and are provided as a public service by their author. The site includes a wealth of features and information, including:

6. Who created the Standards MetaLibrary?

The Standards MetaLibrary, ConsortiumInfo.org and the Consortium Standards Bulletin were created by Andrew Updegrove, a partner at the Boston law firm of Gesmer Updegrove that has represented more standards development organizations than any other law firm in the country. Gesmer Updegrove has sponsored the site since its inception, and provides hosting and web development services as well as other support. For more about the firm, see: http://www.gesmer.com. The MetaLibrary was created with the assistance of a generous grant from Sun Microsystems, Inc. For more about Sun's commitment to standards, see: http://www.sun.com/software/standards/overview.html

7. What can we look for next at the Standards MetaLibrary?

Our work program for 2005 includes the following at this time:

  • Continuous addition of more articles as they are located
  • Abstracting and linking of legislation, policy papers and other primary resource materials
  • Compilation of a master bibliography, comprising all sources listed in the bibliographies of articles referenced in the Standards MetaLibrary
  • Acting as a host for serious works of authorship
  • Providing Amazon.com links to all in-print books listed in the master bibliography

III. How you can help build the Standards MetaLibrary

1. What you can do to help: Find out here.