CMIS Standard Announced

A new standard to provide for interoperability of content management systems has been launched. It's called "CMIS", for Content Management Interoperability Services.


  • Organizations often maintain a number of different content management systems
  • These are often maintained by different departments, and are often application-specific
  • There's a need for the repositories to share information
  • IBM (Content Manager), Microsoft (SharePoint) and ECM (Documentum) have been working together for two years to define a corresponding standard
  • More recently, they've been joined by Alfresco, OpenText, Oracle, and SAP
  • Version 1.0 made public on September 10, 2008
  • Goal is that in late 2009, the standard will be given formal approval by OASIS
  • Initial target applications areas: e-discovery, archiving, compound/virtual documents
  • Initial spec is intended as a foundation, and to have practical and achievable goals. Eg it defines interprocess communications (via SOAP, REST and Atom) and a basis set of APIs
  • Too early to predict when any specific products will support CMIS


  • Much need for such interoperability
  • This effort deserves industry attention and support
  • Very good that three leading ECM players are driving this
  • Probably sound to have initially modest goals. However, this does mean that significant functionality is missing. Eg, work has not yet started on support for categories/tags/taxonomies, and access controls. Category support is very important for e-discovery and archiving applications; and access controls are pretty important for e-discovery, archiving, and compound/virtual documents
  • This work won't do much to integrate email and non-email repositories (at least at this stage). The data structures are still way too different; CMIS won't address the specific and distinctive attributes of email. Pity
  • Long term, it would be nice if digital rights management capabilities could be built into CMIS

... David Ferris

One Comment

  1. Posted September 19, 2008 at 9:40 PM | Permalink

    An important correction: the current proposed specification is at version 0.5. CMIS 1.0 won’t exist until the specification has completed the OASIS standardization process. You can access substantial CMIS materials as follows: and CMIS is a protocol-based standard, not a language-specific API.

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