This is an attempt to collect the ideas and contributions from the ORSO meeting in 2020 and the file formats group workshop on September 30.

The writing is still in progress, thus some entries below are close to the keyword level. Please excuse me for that - or better: change it.

My idea is that we complete the list and fill in the results once a task has been completed.

Once decided, the topic moves form this task list to a still empty list of recommendations.

Pleas add your name to the tasks you are interested in. This way we might be able to form groups working together.

Project organisation

How do we structure our work?
We agreed to tackle the tasks (see below) in smaller groups according to the interests and skills of the orso members.
We forgot to form these groups.

Which platform do we use?
For the moment this would be GitHub. I have the impression that most of us are not that familiar with this and the related nomenclature (including me), so it might be a good idea if some expert could tell us.

Time line
The natural order for developing the orso file format is something like this:

  1. collection of ideas and concepts

  2. discussion

  3. preliminary decision

  4. realisation for testing

  5. revision and final decision

  6. release

At the moment we mix stages 1 to 3 and stage 4 is in preparation. Most likely this will lead to some loops, but on the upside we might learn some things and there is some visible progress…

J. Wuttke suggested to prepare chapters and to release them individually once they are mature enough. This organisation would also allow to opt out certain chapters according to institutional policy.

The problem there is that a lot of basic decisions are entangled and that once we agreed on them, there is not much to split of as a separate chapter.

List of tasks


On 2021-03-22 these tasks have been discussed and in most cases an agreement could be reached. The protocol of this meeting might be used for to define the formal issues of the orso standard for ASCII files.

next steps: