I think that the message below was probably intended for the JAC list and
not just to me. I take the chance and forward it to the list.
From: Christian Galinski [mailto:[log in to unmask]]On Behalf
Of [log in to unmask]
Sent: 30. juli 2003 08:22
To: [log in to unmask]
Cc: Infoterm Brigitte Pietsch (E-Mail)
Subject: AW: ISO 3166 and re-use of identifiers
I fully agree with Håvard's suggestion. In fact the respective rules
applying to ISO 639 should be as strictly applied for ISO 3166 as for ISO
639. And with the much more limited /potential/ number of items on the list
of ISO 3166 countries, this should be easier than with ISO 639.
It is not only code combinations, which are affected, such code re-use has
repercussions on spell-checkers, browsers, picklists, authority files, data
exchange, system installation and pre-configuration etc. which - although
seeming to be minute details - may cause tremendous costs on the users' side
(or, what could be worse: hidden disfunctioning of certain functionalities).
We should comment strongly on this on behalf of the JAC as well as of ISO/TC
37 (and hopefully also ISO/TC 46 and ISO-IEC/JTC 1).
Von: ISO 639 Joint Advisory Committee [mailto:[log in to unmask]]Im Auftrag
von Håvard Hjulstad
Gesendet: Dienstag, 29. Juli 2003 23:12
An: [log in to unmask]
Betreff: ISO 3166 and re-use of identifiers
Dear JAC members,
Most of you will probably have noticed that there is a discussion going on
in various fora about the unstability of ISO 3166 (country codes). The
concrete example is the re-use of CS (previously Czechoslovakia, now Serbia
The development of ISO 3166 is obviously outside the scope of the JAC.
However, since there are normative references to ISO 3166 in ISO 639, it may
be appropriate for us to voice an opinion on the behalf of the JAC (and not
"just" as individual experts).
I am not sure of the size of the problem in this particular case, but there
may be items that are coded xx-CS (meaning the language "xx" as used in
Czechoslovakia). Such items now are erroneous.
Note that we do not challenge the need to modify country identifiers.
Political changes do make that necessary. It is the re-use that is the
If there is consensus in the JAC, I would suggest that we formulate a
comment to the effect that re-use of identifiers should be avoided since
such re-use causes problems and confusion for applications using ISO 639.
(Which are the only problems that the JAC needs to be concerned about.)
Håvard Hjulstad mailto:[log in to unmask]
Chairman ISO/TC37 (Terminology and other language resources)
Convener of ISO/TC37/SC2/WG1 (Language coding)
Acting chairman of ISO 639 RA-JAC
NO-1430 Ås, Norway
tel: +47 64963684
fax: +47 64944233
mob: +47 90145563