Do Standards Help or Hinder Innovation?

W3C MathML STM publishers web standards markup languageMany trade publishers fall asleep at the mention of standards. Support for EPUB3—just to name one—is still far from universal, and there are few signs that that’s changing quickly.

But outside trade publishing, standards arguably garner more urgent attention from digital content developers, distributors and their partners.

W3C, a web standards group, secures the approval of two international standards organizations to recognize MathML 3.0 as an official markup language for representing mathematical content. That won’t impact most trade publishers, but it does nod to the wider debate about the role of standards in digital publishing.

There are some who see standards in general as a hindrance to innovation more often than an accelerant. But others say trade publishers have plenty to learn from their counterparts in ed-tech and STM publishing, where MathML is widely used.


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