I'm scratching my head over the "standardisation" process for document file formats, in particular the text and form documents. Open Document Format and Office Open XML pitched against each other at Ecma, much time and resources spent.
Why bother at all?
A form or a document consists of two things - content and layout. Nay, many pieces of content and then layout. Information mashed up into one, a text document or a text form. An information storage and distribution methodology more or less unchanged since the days of the Pharaohs. Papyrus scrolls, Gutenberg prints or OOXML formats - same stuff, new wrapping.
Quite practical in pre-IT days, but it has a drawback: The moment you manipulate data it loses value and is harder to find, link and reuse. Storing data in manipulated form is simply put, not smart. Nope, it's plainly stupid if alternatives exists.
A letter contains finite information objects, each easily stored using some good old IT standard, say ASCII.
It has a body text, something that could easily be split in finite objects like Introduction, Argument, Closing and whatever you'd like - just name the objects and define the relationships.
And then it has an Address, certainly a finite object if there ever was one. How many "documents" has your address on it? Hundreds? Thousands? How many misspells would there be within that mass? Tens? Hundreds? How many letters do you have to send out when you move? Hundreds? How many letters have never reached you?
Why not have one single "address" object representing that house then linked to any other information object pertaining to the house or you as long as you live in that physical object? One single link to update, no room for errors, no mess.
For textual information I am not interested in stored layout, layout I can apply when I need it thank you. I'm interested in pure information. And most probably a single data object therein and of course how and what it links to.
A "Patient Journal" is a more elaborate "text form" but it consists of finite objects that arises at separate occasions - an inoculation, a surgery, a round of medication, a broken arm. And truth be said the health industry would be better off with finite objects than the form - thus researches can be allowed to see whatever they should see but not more without signing an NDA.
If I want to send a letter, if I need a report to be distributed, if I need a patient journal to be studied in it's entirety I simply apply some logic to the finite objects; start with this object, then add that, then those - and print it out with nice margins and the font of the day.
Keep data in raw form, apply logic when needed, never save manipulated data. Full stop.
Stop this "text document" and "text form" thinking now, time to move onward from the papyrus-scroll-concept and stop bothering with standards for manipulated data. That is bad form and quite foolish.