OASIS Definition

The Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS) is a non-profit, international consortium that promotes the development, convergence and adoption of electronic data formats.

The Billerica, MA-based organization was founded in 1993 in Pittsburgh, PA under the name SGML Open as a consortium of vendors and users devoted to developing guidelines for interoperability among products that support SGML (standard generalized markup language). The name was changed in 1998 to reflect an expanding scope of technical work, including XML (extensible markup language) and related standards. OASIS now has in excess of 5,000 participants representing more than 600 organizations and individual members in 100 countries.

OASIS claims to give priority to the transparency of its operating procedures and decision making. Likewise, its leadership is said to based on merit and is not tied to financial contributions or corporate standing. The technical agenda is set by the members themselves in a manner that is designed to promote efficiency, industry-wide consensus and unification of disparate efforts. Completed work is ratified by open ballot.

Possibly the most important standard under development by OASIS is OpenDocument Format (ODF), an open file format for editable electronic office documents, such as reports, memos, books, spreadsheets, charts, databases and presentations. ODF is intended to make it easier for businesses and government agencies to exchange and preserve information and facilitate avoiding getting locked into proprietary (i.e., commercial) file formats. It is the first such standard that was developed and approved by an independent standardization body.

Other projects include DocBook, a markup language for technical documentation, SAML (Security Assertion Markup Language), a standard XML-based framework for the secure exchange of authentication and authorization information, UBL (Universal Business Language), an effort to define a royalty-free library of standard electronic XML business documents, WSDM (Web Services Distributed Management), and XRI (eXtensible Resource Identifier), a URI-compatible scheme and resolution protocol for abstract identifiers used to identify and share resources across domains and applications.

1OASIS's home page is

Created December 21, 2006.
Copyright © 2006 The Linux Information Project. All Rights Reserved.