A few months back, I devoted a column to highlighting the differences between data models and data standards for exchanging information (see the January 2004 issue of DM Review). Since then, I have continued to think about the use of data standards, particularly because I have heard a lot of people clamoring for the definition of data standards (especially using XML). Yet, I conducted a Web search to find out why people want to define data standards, and I was a bit surprised at how little discussion exists focusing either on what is expected from a data standard or what benefits there are to using a data standard.

Perhaps the expectations and benefits are so obvious that they don't need to be stated? Or, perhaps the common utterances of" some of the time.) Just the same, I intend to take a stab at it anyway - this month's column will articulate what I suggest my clients can expect from a data standards project.

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