OASIS individual memberships

Simon St.Laurent simonstl at simonstl.com
Fri Jul 9 18:29:07 BST 1999

I hope this posting is seen as appropriate to XML-Dev, which seems to have
the highest concentration of OASIS members (and potential members) around.
Given the rate at which standards are developed, discussed, and
occasionally whacked on this list, the opportunity to join a standards
organization and its implications seems an appropriate topic of discussion.
 (If it's not, just don't buy me a beer at the next conference, okay?)

OASIS (the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information
Standards) has created a new category of membership, individual membership
($250/year).  The press release is at

While I loudly applaud their move to open their ranks to a larger body of
members, which will hopefully bring them some new perspectives, I'm also
having a hard time deciding whether it's worth my spending $250.  I already
spend $91/year for my ACM membership, and mostly get a magazine, an email
alias, and what I call my 'union card' for that cash.  Deciding whether to
spend $250 entails a bit more than just liking the organization.

It's not clear to me what benefits I'd get from becoming an OASIS member.
I'll start with the list from the site:

>Attendance at members-only events 

Which include?  It looks like there's a summer workshop August 11-13 in
Montreal, but is there any way to find out what that involves/provides?

>Participation in technical discussion groups and subcommittee working

The only committees appear to be XML Conformance, Registry and Repository,
and DocBook.  While I've offered to work on two of these, paying $250 so I
can do additional work doesn't seem especially sensible.

>Participation in marketing discussion groups and subcommittee working

I can't find any information about this in the public areas of the site.

>Basic developer repository services. 

Meaning... Web site hosting?  DTD hosting?  This could have many different

>Ability to submit, review, and distribute OASIS white papers, case
studies, and other educational materials. 

Maybe this is useful, though I already 'submit' my articles to the public
via a reasonably well-traveled Web site.

>Vote on candidates for OASIS Board of Directors

>Access to all OASIS' technical committee output before it is made public. 

How much output is there really?  OASIS seems like a good idea, but it's
not clear how much it really _does_.

>Member discounts at exhibitions and conferences (where offered)

This would be nice, but (where offered) doesn't promise a whole lot.

The next few items seem to reiterate the committee possibilities already
mentioned, though they mention some additional committees:

>Involvement in the OASIS XML.org Registry and Repository technical committee
>Participation in the ongoing development of the OASIS XML Conformance
Suite to insure product interoperability. 
>Opportunity to influence the standard for XML-based interchange of tabular
by providing input for the OASIS XML Table Model Technical Resolutoion. 
>Promotion of the open exchange of graphics by taking part in the work of
CGM Open. 
>Influence on future directions of documentation markup by taking part in
the  maintenance of the DocBook DTD

I'm not trying to knock OASIS - I'd just like more information on what
exactly the benefits are.  I'd especially welcome a public response, as it
might provide some good public relations for an organization that seems to
be trying to build a large base of support.  If the benefits are
significant enough, I hope that many members of XML-Dev will take up this
new opportunity and join the organization.

Simon St.Laurent
XML: A Primer / Building XML Applications
Inside XML DTDs: Scientific and Technical
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