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The World Wide Web (WWW) is based on the simple assumption that all documents are represented in a standard format using copymarks that denote structure as defined by HyperText Markup Language. They use a standard document identification scheme, a URL (uniform resource locator) and a standard retrieval form, HTTP (hypertext transfer protocol). The HTML, URL, and HTTP standards are simplifications of the more comprehensive standards on which they are based. Even with this simplicity, WWW document interchange standards have dramatically improved the exchange of electronic information. These developments are encouraging, but they indicate that we must pay even more attention to data interchange standards in general and to document interchange standards specifically. The author discusses the need for more formal data interchange standardization.
Date of Publication: Aug. 1996