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UK picks Open Document Format for all government files

The Register - The UK Government has decided that Open Document Format, the OpenOffice-derived file format, is the best choice for all government documents.

The Cabinet Office's Standards Hub explained its thinking on the matter and published the recommendation this week, using the following language:

 

“When dealing with citizens, information should be digital by default and therefore should be published online. Browser-based editing is the preferred option for collaborating on published government information. HTML (4.01 or higher e.g. HTML5) is therefore the default format for browser-based editable text. Other document formats specified in this proposal - ODF 1.1 (or higher e.g. ODF 1.2), plain text (TXT) or comma separated values (CSV) - should be provided in addition. ODF includes filename extensions such as .odt for text, .ods for spreadsheets and .odp for presentations.”

CSV files are preferred for “statistical or numerical information … preferably with a preview provided in HTML.”

“For information being collaborated on between departments” it is suggested that “browser-based editing is preferable but often not currently available. Therefore, information should be shared in ODF (version 1.1 or higher e.g. ODF 1.2).”

In-browser editing is preferred across the board, and “To avoid lock-in to a particular provider, it must be possible for documents being created or worked on in a cloud environment to be exported in at least one of the editable document formats proposed.”