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ISOJAC  April 2002

ISOJAC April 2002

Subject:

Commercialism or not [Re: Liaisons to JAC]

From:

John Clews <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

[log in to unmask]

Date:

Thu, 4 Apr 2002 14:00:15 GMT

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (97 lines)

In message  <p05101005b8cf3f73df7c@[193.120.118.95]> Michael Everson
wrote via [log in to unmask]:

> I think, in fairness, that if the commercial organizations are to be
> allowed to make use of *our* collective expertise (regardless of what
> contribution they may be seen to give), then the rest of us ought to
> be afforded free access to their (expensive) materials. As a
> condition for their participation.

Come on: we need to be rather more realistic here. Surely the
argument is about the goals of the organizations - if they are "not
for profit organizations" (organisations sans but lucratif for those
of the organisations with French links) it strikes me that they are
not commercial. All we are dealing with is cost recovery.

In response to your examples:

> I said this a month ago:
>
> I would like to see your rationale for choosing them. Two of them
> (Linguasphere and the LDC) are *selling* linguistic data at rather
> exorbitant prices.

Large databases, subscriptions to records etc, cost money to produce,
and costs have to be recovered. Organizations *sell* services and
products.

LC and OCLC, and the British Library, for instance,  sell services,
products, records and subscriptions, which can be said to be not
cheap, but that depends on what you are comparing them to.

And I'm not suggesting that their prices are wrong - they provide a
service which is of extreme usefulnes to the library community, and
which is prepared to pay an agreed price for those services.

I'm certainly more than happy for LC and OCLC to be represented on
the ISO 639 Joint Advisory Committee.

Taking your other examples ...

I can't speak for LDC, but I suspect that it is in the same boat, in
regard to having some income (mainly from (ultimately) government
sources) but also needing to recoup costs. I don't know the details
of the services that they offer.

Speaking on behalf of a UK-based organization (the Linguasphere
Observatory) which participates in work related to ISO/TC37/SC2/WG1
via the UK committee which covers the work of ISO/TC37.

Their 2-volume work is relatively expensive (though the price has
been reduced a lot, but it is a massive work which has taken many
man-years to produce, and it's not a profit-making venture, as noted
above.

NB - don't forget that it's planned that their next version will be
freely accessible via the web. See the Linguasphere web site for
details.

You also wrote:

> One of them (FEL) charges a membership fee, and
> while it apparently gives out some research grants, I'd like to know
> what specific input you expect to get and why you named the people
> you named.

Well, I'm a member (and a former committee member) of FEL (the
Foundation for Endangered Languages) and I represent them on matters
relating to standards for language codes, and have done for some
time.

Their membership fee is something like USD 30 per year - hardly a
vast cost, compared to other things that we have to pay for in life.

Evertype and Keytempo Limited (your company and my company) are also
commercial though as we both know, we do a lot of pro bono work as
well, sometimes as ourselves, and sometimes via the company.

I don't think that either of us should be excluded from JAC
membership because of our relaively minor commercial links, and
neither should any of the organizations that you mention.

I'd like to see Håvard to go ahead with any liaison arrangements.

Best regards

John Clews

--
John Clews,
Keytempo Limited (Information Management),
8 Avenue Rd, Harrogate, HG2 7PG
Email: [log in to unmask]
tel: +44 1423 888 432;

Committee Member of ISO/IEC/JTC1/SC22/WG20: Internationalization;
Committee Member of ISO/TC37/SC2/WG1: Language Codes

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