"The [International] Development Markup Language (DML) Initiative is an effort to exploit the potential of XML by establishing a version of this protocol specifically tailored for development oriented information. The IDML Initiative was formed to discuss the possibility of a International Development Markup Language, or IDML, for the international development community. IDML would become a data exchange standard for information that is specific to international development, making it much easier to share information with regional offices, partner agencies and with the public. It will also be easier to find and manage information about who is doing what, and where. IDML offers a way of sharing information efficiently and effectively, something that ordinary web pages don't allow. DML would essentially turn the Internet into a collective database for the development community, facilitating precise searches automatically, while still remaining a decentralized model of data access."
The Development Markup Language (DML) Initiative proposes to "define and implement an Internet markup language specific to the development community which will facilitate transparency, learning and coordination of action. Longer term objectives involve the creation of a framework process within which the development community can establish universal standards on sharing a variety of information types. This initiative will create a framework within which multiple actors, and groups of actors, can interact with one another to establish their own standards, while still adhering to a single overall process. These sub-standards will directly serve the needs of those who create them, while ensuring a basic level of compatibility with the larger universe of development information."
Development information envisioned by the planners includes 'content related information' (hard data on health or population) and 'process information' (project activity information, organisational information, individual contact information and project oriented lessons learned). The group "has a focus on 'process related information' as a starting point, and would see its initial work on 'process related information' as just one group among the many groups that can exist in the creation and management of various types of development information using XML."
Among DML's design goals: "1) support the markup of information describing the development activities of organizations working in the area of international development; 2) support the valid markup of records that contain only the mandatory data elements described by the current CEFDA standard; 3) support markup that extends CEFDA in areas that have already been formally or informally identified as requiring more complete, detailed or more extensive information; 4) allow for multilingual markup; 5) developed quickly and hould be easily usable by a wide range of browser software, style sheets and other software."
Organizations participating in the DML discussion include: Bellanet, CGNet, CIDA, IDRC, IDS (University of Sussex), IISD, NGO-Net, PlaNet Bank, UN Center for Human Settlements (UNCHS), UNESCO, UNICEF, Wageningen University, and World Bank. [November 24, 1998]
A provisional XML DTD and several sample DML documents are available online.
"The Development Markup Language (DML) Initiative." Design Paper. Version 2.0
An XML Initiative in the International Development Sector (Katherine Morrow) - Note on January 13-14, 1999 Meeting.
DML Meeting: Minutes from January 13, 1999. - Development Markup Language: XML for the International Development Community. Minutes of a meeting held in Ottawa, Canada, January 13-14, 1999. [local archive copy]
Abbreviated XML Consultation Report - Prepared by: Ron Davies. Report on contact with some "twenty-seven organizations to determine whether these organizations were planning any developments in relation to XML, and what they were doing in areas related to metadata standards and information sharing of development information."
Contact address: email@example.com