There is a new proposal for a standards based Services Oriented Architecture Framework for Interoperable Enterprise Content Management on the AIIM web site. AIIM is the "international authority on Enterprise Content Management." The initiative is being lead by Paul Fontaine of the US Department of Transportation and Mike Connor of Adobe. If successful, this standard will enable companies to share content across different content management systems.
Back in 2000, the ECM industry's position was that effective content management could only be provided by large centralized monolithic applications. This development is interesting because it is another sign that ECM vendors are turning away from the business of providing a single unified (one size fits none) solution for all of an organization's diverse content management needs. If successful, these standards will allow organizations to select best of breed technologies that meet the specific needs of business processes without sacrificing content reuse and cross departmental information sharing.
There are a number of other standards that will also be effective in implementing interoperable content architectures. The Java Content Repository (JSR 170) provides a standard interface for a content repository to facilitate the integration and substitution of content management systems. The Semantic Web enabled by RDF is enabling content applications to interact and share information with one another. Content syndication standards like RSS and Atom open new possibilities for content aggregation and reuse. Metadata standards like the Dublin Core help make content easier to find.
It is going to be very interesting to see how these standards evolve and realize their potential to create effective content management solutions. I would expect rapid evolution of new content applications that streamline communication and discover new value for existing content.