Debut "Technology Matters" column for Collaborative Librarianship. This article, Holding Your Vendor's Fee to the Fire, talks about the importance of standards in library technology and encourages libraries to be more demanding about the importance of adherence to those standards.
The article begins like this:
"The nut. The bolt. When you go to the hard-ware store with a bolt in hand, you probably feel pretty confident that you’ll be able to find the nut you need to tighten that bolt. When I hand over my bolt to my local Rex Ace Hardware man, he strides down a nearby aisle and within seconds, I’ve got my bolt’s mate. It screws on perfectly. Do I care who made the bolt or the nut? I do not. This is because nuts and bolts have standard on sizes and threads. Any quar-ter inch nut will screw onto any quarter inch bolt.