Two international standards bodies have teamed up on a forum about Web services, in a bid to clarify what’s really going on.

Web services has been a hot topic amongst businesses this year. Earlier this month, analysts told ZDNet Australia that they saw security issues as the number one roadblock to the takeup of Web services.

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and the Organisation for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS) have decided to organise a forum to try to educate users about the work both standards organisations have been doing.

In particular, W3C’s Web foundation work on XML-SIG, XKMS, Xenc, and its model for Web services architecture and the security segment. Also under discussion will be OASIS’s security-related technologies such as SAML, WS-Security, and standards for access control, provisioning, biometrics and digital rights.

Earlier this month it was announced that a Web services security technical committee was being formed. This followed IBM, Microsoft and VeriSign agreeing to submit the latest version of the WS-Security specification to OASIS for development, a move industry analysts predicted as a positive one for the Web services arena.

Patrick Gannon, president and CEO at OASIS, said that there were a number of technical committees outside the core profile area, with most of the vendors involved in Web services having been long-standing members of the organisation.

“At OASIS we’re engaged in developing and promoting additional specifications, which will be needed for the much broader Web services area,” he said.

Gannon described it as “the ROI factor”–relevance, openess and implementability. He said that this means that members work on standards that are relative to the needs of the marketplace, often within relatively short timeframes.