The ability of systems and data to work seamlessly together.
The ability of content, a subsystem or system to seamlessly work with other systems, subsystems or content via the use of agreed specifications / standards.
An example of the need for content to be interoperable would be the statistics measuring unemployment in the UK, which have been collected in so many different ways over the last century, that the figures for one year are sometimes not comparable with those of another. An agreed standard for measuring unemployment in the UK would make such statistics comparable, and enable them to be stored in such a way as to enable comparison, thus making the statistics interoperable.
An example of interoperability between systems in practice would be the TCP/IP protocols*, that enable disparate network components, software and servers to communicate with each other, thus forming the infrastructure of the Internet.
Architectures such as SCORM (Shareable Content Object Reference Model)are now being built to make interoperability a reality for large eLearning projects such as OKI (The Open Knowledge Initiative).
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