The new computer-based American Vacuum Society journal Surface Science Spectra is providing a unique test of the practicality of evolving analytical data standards. As with other analytical techniques, data items in surface analysis data records have proven difficult to define and classify. A major source of problems arises from the fact that different instrument design approaches to the same type of measurement lead to different parameterizations of instrument settings and specifications. Transformation modeling is a promising approach to generic data modeling in which each stage of an analytical measurement is described by a mathematical transformation. The transformation modeling formalism shows that, in principle, every analytical measurement can be modeled by a mathematical structure that specifies and organizes the information providing a complete, orthogonal description of the measurement. In practice, the feasibility of applying the formalism to a given type of measurement will depend on the availability of sufficiently accurate analytical transformations for the measurement.