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Dear Colleagues,

I think, by now we all agree that the re-use of "CS" is most unfortunate.
This statement is not meant as a criticism.

Even ISO 639-1/RA and the ISO 639/RAs-JAC have underestimated the total
range of consequences and impact of this reuse in the beginning of the
discussion. The BSI representative mentiones in his response that one
library catalogue alone has 18000 records that would need to be changed in
case CS were to be reused. Most members don't seem to have undertaken
similar studies. We find it likely that more representatives would see the
practical problems with a change if such studies were conducted, although I
think that we all know what such studies would reveal.

No individual expert, no group (and even no nation) is fool-proof of making
bad decisions. It is, however, a matter of professionality and leadership in
expertise to show the flexibility to remedy a bad decision as soon as

In our opinion the solution out of the dilemma could be

-    to rescind/withdraw CS=Serbia and Montenegro (for good reasons, which
should also be obvious to the country most affected) and block this symbol
-    to propose a suitable new country symbol.
(In this connection, it must be made clear to the parties concerned that a
country symbol is not a matter of ideology, but primarily a pragmatic tool
to ease information interchange)

In any case this issue has shown two important necessities:

(1)     Given the fact that there will always remain the need for archiving
certain data possibly even for centuries (in an increasingly networking
world) the principle of non-reuse of once assigned code-symbols is of utmost
importance. If a code-symbol has to be changed, the old symbol must be
blocked forever!!!
(2)     Given the increased importance of standardized coding systems (and
increasingly interlinked/combined coding systems) in the world of
m-computing and m-commerce, ISO needs a policy for guaranteeing stable
coding systems.

The need for a total strictness in this matter is rather new. It is what is
quite astounding supported by celebrities from academia, such as Tim
Berners-Lee etc.

On behalf of ISO 639/RAs-JAC I would like to appeal to ISO 3166/MA not to
scruple too much about formalities etc. and take the appropriate measures. I
would further like to suggest that we tie up with other standardized coding
communities to establish a standardized framework of principles and rules
for stable coding. If we all together can achieve this goal, we would have
paved one of the paths towards smooth m-computing and m-commerce in the

I would VERY much appreciate it, if ISO 3166/MA could consider our appeal
and come up not only with a luke-warm compromise, but with a good decision
concerning CS.

Yours truly

Christian Galinski
Secretary of ISO/TC 37
Present Chairman of ISO 639/RAs-JAC

Dr. Christian Galinski, Director
Infoterm - International Information Centre for Terminology
Aichholzgasse 6/12, A-1120 Vienna, Austria
Tel.: +43 1 817 4488;        Fax: +43 1 817 4488-44
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