Standard: XFDL (Extensible Forms Description Language)


Description: XFDL is a proposed standard for highly structured electronic documents (E-forms) used to gather and process data for entry into databases.

Relationship to Records Management: In many cases, the original source documents should be maintained for a period of time in order to facilitate audits of the data in databases, as well as to preserve context information and protect the interests of the parties involved. The use of proprietary and evolving E-forms formats complicates and increases the cost of maintaining such records. XFDL is a proposed open-systems standard that would facilitate interoperability among compliant systems as well as accessibility and longer-term preservation of E-forms.

Problems/Issues/Weaknesses: JetForm has proposed a competing standard. The W3C is expected to adopt a standard but may not be sensitive to records management requirements. Also, since the W3C acts by consensus, its decisions represent the lowest common denominator and can take a long time.

Moreover, few agency decision-makers or technical staff are sensitive to the need to maintain forms as E-records in DoD-certified ERMSs, so as to facilitate auditing of the databases to which they write.

Closely Related Standards: XML, XFA, XForms and DoD 5015.2

Links to More Information:

XML + Forms = XFDL

Conducting E-Business in the Internet Age

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