Standards are about more than dry technical specifications. They can be the tools employed to conduct international relations and to wage great commercial battles. They can also tell us something about our own ability to agree, and perhaps point the way to a better tomorrow.
Some stories from last year continued to be active, while others sank from sight. And, of course, many new ones emerged on a daily basis. Here is the standards news of 2004 that we think was most important, and why.
Standards stories tend to be serials rather than special events. In this article, we present a monthly news diary to illustrate how some of the major stories of 2004 evolved through a busy and eventful year.
Which standard setting organizations were most newsworthy in 2004, and which on-line media did the best job of covering the world of standards? We analyze the sources of the news we chose to present out of the thousands of stories we reviewed this year, and recognize the good work of the best of them.
When is something really a standard, and not merely a convention -- and how can you tell the difference?