From the millimeter to ASCII to USB, standards are integral to practical innovation in commerce, the sciences, and technology. But for all their uniformity and consistency, standards are the products of history–and as such, they’re never finished, but always in the making. How do standards come to be standard? Their histories connect the cutting edge to the distant past and help us to understand how our latter-day proposals fit into the long story of modernity.This talk will try to set the stage and propose a perspective for BiB’s spirited engagement with standards for digital publishing by exploring the many-colored mosaics of enterprise, expertise, and global cooperation out of which standards emerge.