File mirrored from ftp://info.bellcore.com/pub/TCIF/IPI-desc.txt on March 18, 1995. Note that this disk area on the Bellcore FTP server has several items relevant to SGML (DTDs,etc).
Information Products Interchange (IPI) IPI History The Information Products Interchange Committee addresses one of the largest, most widespread problems in the telecommunications industry - the vast amount of paper documentation associated with equipment used in the telecommunications network. With the ready availability of terminals, computers and publishing and retrieval systems for creating, viewing and managing documents in electronic form, delivery of the documentation electronically is a logical step. When the Telecommunications Industry Forum (TCIF) precursor of the formal IPI Committee began meeting, it was quickly apparent that most companies had dissimilar platforms, operating systems, work cultures and processes. No company could afford to abandon its investment in tools, and most felt their operation was appropriate for their circumstances. This meant that the members of a different committee needed to address recognized standards and develop guidelines that could support a diverse industry and support the emerging information technologies rather than to try to enfore standardization of tools. Therefore, when the IPI Committee was recognized as a working committee of TCIF in 1988, it developed a charter to reflect this reality. IPI Charter The IPI Charter is to establish guidelines to facilitate the electronic interchange of information products in the telecommunications industry. The committee examines, interprets, evaluates and recommends existing and emerging electronic interchange standards and guidelines for voluntary industry acceptance and use. The standards and guidelines recommended by the IPI Committee are a means to ensure that text, graphics, voice annotated and animated forms of information created by one organization can be delivered to, stored, retrieved and used by others in the telecommunications industry. The IPI's goal is to define common standards that software and hardware tool vendors will support, but the committee is NOT attempting to recommend a specific product, system, or tool set for industry-wide compliance. IPI Working Teams The IPI Committee consists of three teams which do the needed work to accomplish the charter. o Strategic Planning Team - Defines an appropriate vision and strategic direction for the committee. o Interchange Team - Develops methods for interchange of information products within the telecommunications industry by identifying, recommending and developing the implementation of standards. o Administration Team - Orients new members, supplies and maintains educational information and tracks progress of all IPI Teams. IPI Accomplishments The IPI Committee selected Standard Generalized Markup Language (SGML) as the standard for exchange of text. As steps toward implementing SGML, the committee has developed an SGML Document Type Definition (DTD), conducted document analysis for telecommunications procedural documents and successfully completed trial exchanges of documents in an SGML Format. The committee also works with Bellcore on the development of Generic Requirements Documents on SGML. The committee has recommended Consultative Committee for International Telegraphy and Telephone (CCITT) Group IV for the exchange of raster graphics and is evaluating standards for the exchange of vector graphics. The committee continues to monitor international standards activity and benchmark other industries effort on electronic interchange.