PESC supports the maintenance and implementation of electronic data interchange (EDI) and the development, maintenance, and implementation of extensible markup language (XML). While EDI standards (for the transcript, admission application, and test score) may be purchased through the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), PESC hosts the corresponding implementation guides and recommended implementation practices, which were developed by AACRAO's SPEEDE Committee, here on the PESC website. A number of corresponding code sets are also hosted here on the PESC website.
Like EDI, XML is a specification used in software to define the content of an electronic document and has become widely used in business-to-business transactions. Whether sending data over the web or between applications, XML can be used to transmit both text and the meaning of that text. Inaugurated in August of 2000, the Standards Forum for Education focuses on the XML needs of the higher education community, development of XML products needed by the community, and evaluation of other XML initiatives and their impacts on the community.
The Standards Forum for Education was formed as a result of a recommendation from a white paper entitled, "Extensible Markup Language for Electronic Transactions in Higher Education" produced from a PESC workgroup that studied XML to assist the members of PESC and the broader postsecondary education community in making sense of XML developments and how they relate to the needs of the PESC community. While other standards and technologies are in use and fully supported by PESC and the community right now, such as EDI, the Standards Forum focuses primarily on XML and PESC serves as the standards setting body for XML.
An XML standard includes a schema(s) and an implementation guide(s) of which development is administered by the formation of a workgroup under the Standards Forum for Education. While development timelines may vary as well as the organizations that might participate in a development workgroup, all development efforts are subject to a structured review and ratification process with known acceptability criteria. Candidates for standards can either be developed through workgroups administered by PESC and the Standards Forum or developed externally by interested parties and then submitted for review and acceptance. The process by which standards are developed by the Standards Forum for Education and approved by PESC can be found in the Policies and Procedures Manual.