Volume 16, Number 2, June 2000

By Donald Sawyer and John Garrett

John Garrett (left) and Donald Sawyer (right) of the
NASA Science Office of Standards and Technology or NOST.

Formats Evolution Process Update: The Formats Evolution Process Committee (FEPC) is developing working papers in two areas: a possible standard time series object and the delineation of concepts and terms needed to describe better the variety of formats in common use. Drafts of these papers, which are undergoing active revisions, can be found on the FEPC site ( index3.html#working_drafts). Staff anticipate sending these papers out for comments in the near term but welcome comments on the evolving drafts as well.

International Standards Development Update: A Panel 2 workshop of the joint ISO/Consultative Committee for Space Data Systems (CCSDS) effort was held outside in Annapolis, Maryland, over May 8-15, 2000. Highlights from that effort are as follows.

OAIS Reference Model: The draft CCSDS/ISO standard Reference Model for an Open Archival Information System (OAIS) ( has just been issued as an ISO Draft International Standard (DIS) after considerable delay caused by ISO secretariat problems. Comments may be submitted by following the instructions at It has generated considerable interest among various international and national library and scientific groups.

Data Entity Dictionary Specification Language (DEDSL): The DEDSL, as described briefly in the last newsletter, consists of three documents: abstract syntax, Parameter Value Language (PVL) syntax, and an Extensible Markup Language (XML)/Document Type Definition (DTD) syntax. Work on the PVL syntax suggested that some updates were needed to the abstract syntax. As a result the expected time for release for agency review of the abstract and PVL syntax documents is later this summer. Good progress was made on the XML/DTD syntax, and staff expect the document to be available in the fall of 2000.

For further information on any of these topics, contact Donald Sawyer at

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Author: Miranda Beall
Curator: Natalie Barnes
Responsible Official: Dr. Joseph H. King, Code 633
Last Revised: 11 July 2000 [NAB]