Linda Humphries, Head of Open Standards in the Office of the Chief Technology Officer, talks us through what the announcement about document formats means for Technology Leaders in government.
Yesterday's blog post from Mike Bracken explains why we've selected open standards for document formats for use across government. This isn't just a technology change. It's a business change that will affect every civil servant and every document that the civil service produces - so many users outside of government will see a change too.
As Technology Leaders in government, we have to get this right.
What Technology Leaders will do now
From today, when government organisations source applications that create editable documents, they’ll ask for support for ODF 1.2 (Open Document Format). For cloud based services, they’ll be looking for editable documents that can be exported in ODF, even if the native format is something different. When they source applications that produce documents intended for viewing, they’ll be looking for HTML5 and PDF/A.
Now the Open Standards Board has selected these standards, Technology Leaders will be considering those changes they can bring about now to help their users, and those they need to plan for. They will be publishing information on when they will switch over.
I’ll be asking my colleagues in GDS and Technology Leaders across government to publish and openly share advice and blogs to help departments adopt these standards. We’ve published guidance for publishers so departments can prioritise moving to these formats on GOV.UK sooner rather than later.
Guidance and mutual support on making the change
We’re not underestimating what will be involved with making this change in departments. We'll be supporting Technology Leaders as they make the transition to help ensure the process is as smooth and as beneficial to users as possible. This will include fostering a shared repository of good practice and mutual support, informed by practical experience, across areas such as:
- selecting tools for working with others to edit documents
- setting default options and file associations
- the effect of extensions on interoperability
- validation tools
- handling macros
- selecting fonts
Where to find more information
We’ve already discussed these open standards and their implications through our engagement with the Technology Leaders Network, including a workshop. We’ve also collected together some public links that you might find useful.
Open Document Format
Products for PDF/A conversion and validation - including tools which check compliance with PDF/A-1 and PDF/A-2