In the original proposal, we said:
The primary objective of this project is to develop the technology to allow
mathematics to be displayed in a meaningful way in modern multimedia computing
environments. The vehicle for achieving this and the principal result of the
project will be the OpenMath Standard which will define a framework within
which diverse software packages ranging from web browsers to electronic books
can exchange semantically-rich representations of mathematical objects.
The standard will do two principal things: it will lay down rules for the
representation of such objects; and it will define the architecture that
a piece of software has to adopt to be ``OpenMath-compliant''. To have a
chance of being adopted widely, such a standard has to satisfy the following
The project intends to demonstrate that the OpenMath standard has these
qualities through a series of prototypes involving mathematical software,
electronic books and texts, and the worldwide web. This prototyping and
development activity will feed back into the definition of the standard,
ensuring that it is usable in practice.
It is clear that these objectives have been reached, although under somewhat
different circumstances than we originally envisaged. Between the preparation
of the workplan and the start of the project, the fledgling HTML-Math
activity became the MathML working group of W3C and was close to releasing
the first MathML recommendation
 (it was published in
April 1998). Perhaps not surprisingly a number of members of the Consortium
also involved in the MathML activity and the decision was taken that, rather
than develop a conflicting standard, we should take advantage of the
existence of MathML as a presentation medium and ensure that its limited
support for content markup agreed with a well-defined set of OpenMath
content dictionaries. This has arguably proved a very successful strategy
and, with the recent emergence of support for MathML in browsers and plug-ins,
we are reaping the benefits of that decision.
In the rest of this document we will describe the OpenMath standard and the various software tools and applications which are implementations of it. In addition to work outside the project, a number of third parties have also developed software based on the standard and provided valuable feedback and advice.
The original project programme also said that:
The ultimate objective for the project is to have OpenMath adopted by a
suitable international standardisation body. Members of the Consortium
are involved in related work in ISO (Mathematics subgroup of Working
Group SC4/WG6) and the World Wide Web Consortium (the HTML-Math
Working Group) and it is by these bodies that we hope to have OpenMath
adopted. It is extremely unlikely, however, that this will happen within
the lifetime of the project.
Here we have had more mixed success. Political considerations inside W3C
mean that the existence of MathML effectively blocks their adoption of
another recommendation related to mathematics, and we have come to the
conclusion that the effort involved in
going through ISO or a similar body is not worthwhile. Instead we have
ensured that OpenMath is recognised as a compatible standard by a number
of groups, notably:
To ensure that OpenMath continues to develop and is kept in line with new developments in the XML world and elsewhere, the OpenMath Society has been founded as an independent body. Its President and several members of its executive committee are members of the Consortium, but it includes many other people who were not involved directly in this project.
Overall then we feel that the project has met and in some cases exceeded its original objectives, while not being tied down to the precise details originally laid out in the workplan. The worldwide web is a fast-moving area and much has changed during the lifetime of the project. The participants have benefited greatly from the existance of the Consortium as a body, and plan to continue working together under the auspices of the OpenMath Society.