Web services systems are all about standards. The Web services architecture is an evolved form of the traditional service-oriented and distributed-computing architectures. What sets Web services apart from these earlier models is the rapid adoption of standards by vendors and users alike. With that in mind, the term "Web services architecture" should be restricted to standards-based systems. You might want to take a look at the reference Web services architecture that the W3C has posted to its Web site: http://www.w3.org/TR/2002/WD-ws-arch-20021114/.
This was first published in February 2003