Strength of standard
Technical standards are the most rigid in the hierarchy of standards, and will yield, if
followed correctly, the same results (example: ANSI X3.4 which specifies the ASCII-
Conventions, rules or professional standards are more flexible and may allow more variation
in local practice.Therefore, the results may slightly differ depending on the local practices
(For example: MARC for machine-readable cataloguing or the Museum Documentation
Association Data Standard).
Guidelines are based on particular practices an/or service criteria that can be used for
benchmarking.They describe the basic elements of a system/procedure that, in practice, has
proven successful (for example: description guidelines inventories or commonly accepted
systems development methodologies).
External standards are developed outside the cultural heritage sector, yet they are either
widely used or accepted within the profession or, they have been developed by groups with
similar interests. ALM professionals may need to adopt a standard because it has become the
de-facto standard within a particular field, for example some geographic place-name code
sets. On the contrary, internal standards are developed specifically by and for cultural heritage
representative bodies.Today, the ALM sector shows an increasing willingness to embrace
external standards, such as XML and SGML.
Level of description
At the broadest level, information system standards attempt to specify all the functional
components of the information system as a whole. Systems in different locations that are
Source: Society of American Archivists, 1994