A new standard for saving the Internet By: Maria Cootauco, Info Executive: CATA CEO comments
November 20, 2009

A new ISO file format will help protect information posted on the Web that traditionally would have been lost when a page is modified or disappears. It’s a big deal for Web curators, archivists and anyone who has ever probed the Web for a piece of information that was no longer available.

The file format, known as “ISO 28500: 2009, Information and documentation – WARC (Web ARChive)” joins multiple data objects into a single file, which can be used to build applications for harvesting, managing, accessing and exchanging content, according to a media release about the technology published by ISO.

“Intellectual capital or knowledge is really the driver of the economy,” said John Reid, president of CATAAlliance, a Canadian high-tech association based in Ottawa. “Anytime you adopt a standard that makes it easier to collect and store knowledge, it really preserves and enables individuals and organization to better mind the accumulated knowledge that we develop through the Web.”

 The hope for ISO WARC is that it will standardize Internet archiving in terms of management, structure and storage, said Clement Oury, member of the working group that developed ISO WARC, in the release. The result of having universally accepted rules surrounding the storage of online data is a more robust functionality and possible integration into mainstream activities, Oury added.

It’s an encouraging development not only in the world of IT, but for anyone who uses the Web as a resource, Reid said. “You need a common standard for these integration tools – sort of like a massive digital library that anyone can more easily access,” he added. “When you build things, you go back and you gain insight from past knowledge and from understanding the evolution of thought. It really is an underpinning for going forward into the future as we build new things and new approaches.”

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