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Author: Andrew Updegrove
Source: Consortium Standards Bulletin, Vol. IV, No. 9
Publication Date: September 2005
Free/Fee: Free Access
Reads: 19269
Abstract: For a period of 20 months, the Information Technology Division (ITD) of Massachusetts has been considering certain amendments to its internal information technology policies relating to the use of "open formats" when saving documents created by the Massachusetts Executive Agencies. The impetus for such a change is to prevent vendor "lock in," and also to lessen the likelihood that public information will not become inaccessible in the future due to changes in proprietary software, or the discontinuance of support for such software. On September 21, 2005, the proposed amendments became final, and Massachusetts became the first jurisdiction in the world to mandate the saving of documents using only software that complies with the OpenDocument OASIS Standard or the Adobe PDF format. This article describes the history of both the process followed by the ITD as well as that of the OpenDocument OASIS Standard, summarizes and assesses the arguments for and against the amendments made by those that offered public comments, and finally seeks to evaluate the potential impact of the Massachusetts decision on further government information technology policy evolution around the world.
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