The ISO 639 Joint Advisory Committee met last week. I am currently working
on the list of resolutions taken, minutes of the meeting, and revision of
documents discussed. One of those documents is Working principles for the
maintenance of both parts of ISO 639, which was discussed at the meeting
and will be made available as soon as it is revised. The Committee agreed
to closely coordinate the development of the two parts of ISO 639, using
common language and principles where possible.
See below responses to the previous message.
On Sat, 19 Feb 2000, [iso-8859-1] Keld Jørn Simonsen wrote:
> ISO/IEC JTC1/SC22/WG20 N721
> Liaison statement from ISO/IEC JTC1/SC22/WG20 to ISO/TC37
> WG20 - Internationalization - uses language codes from ISO 639 in its
> standards, and also represents a user community that makes
> considerable use of language codes in various implementations.
> WG20 notes that ISO/TC37 develops ISO 639 and 639-1, and that ISO
> 639-2 is developed jointly with ISO/TC46. WG20 also notes that each
> standard has a maintenance agency, and that there is a Joint Advisory
> Committee covering ISO 639-1 and ISO 639-2. This liaison statement is
> addressed primarily to ISO/TC37, but WG20 will also welcome replies
> from other bodies mentioned here.
> WG20 requests feedback on the following points:
> 1. WG20 asks for a copy of the relevant procedures related to the
> maintenance of the various parts of ISO 639.
As mentioned above, that will be completed and made available (on the Web)
within the next week or two.
> 2. WG20 considers that stability of language codes is important.
> WG20 notes some reassignment of codes in recent years (e.g. "he" to
> "iw" for Hebrew) in ISO 639-1. WG20 asks for confirmation that no more
> code reassignments occur, in order to avoid conflicts in
The Committee very strongly agrees about stability of codes. One principle
agreed upon was that codes should not be changed. For those that have been
changed in the past, the former codes shall not be reassigned. In
addition, their former use will be documented and identified as
> 3. WG20 notes that ISO 3166 codes (including updates) are available on
> the Internet, and asks for consideration of a bilingual
> (English/French) list of codes from both parts of ISO 639 on the
A Web site for ISO 639-2 was recently made available and is under
development (http://www.loc.gov/standards/iso639-2). Resolutions were
agreed upon at the Joint Advisory Committee meeting last week concerning
this Web site as well as a ISO 639/JAC Web site that covers both parts of
the standard. We have received clearance from ISO to make the full
standard available and we will be working on that (which would include
codes from 639-1 and 639-2 as well as English and French language names).
More information will be forthcoming in the near future as we publicize
the results of last week's meeting.
Rebecca Guenther, Chair of ISO 639/Joint Advisory Committee
^^ Rebecca S. Guenther ^^
^^ Senior Networking and Standards Specialist ^^
^^ Network Development and MARC Standards Office ^^
^^ 1st and Independence Ave. SE ^^
^^ Library of Congress ^^
^^ Washington, DC 20540-4402 ^^
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> > Replies should be sent to
> Arnold F. Winkler (Convenor, ISO/IEC JTC1/SC22/WG20) Unisys B203-14
> Swedesford Road Malvern, PA 19355 USA Tel: 610-648-2055 Fax:
> 610-695-5473 Email: <[log in to unmask]>
> Correspondence can also be sent to ISO/IEC JTC1/SC22/WG20's liaison
> officer to ISO/TC37, Keld Simonsen <[log in to unmask]>.