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> From: ISO 639 Joint Advisory Committee [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of
> Rebecca S. Guenther


> For what it's worth, in MARC we use 3 blanks to mean that there is no
> sung, spoken or written language content. I wonder if we could handle it
> in section 4.1.2 of ISO 639-2 (Special situations) by specifying this sort
> of thing, rather than actually define a code. If it is only for situations
> where a code is mandatory, then a convention should be able to do as well
> I would think. Also, we do need to keep MARC consistent with ISO 639-2 and
> we have a convention we've used for a very long time when there's no
> linguistic content.

The invisible ID "   " can be risky if these are exposed in a user interface (a machine knows there are three characters there, but a human may not). Also, given that the standard specifies "language codes consist of three Latin-alphabet characters in lowercase", it would be likely that some protocols or software implementations may not permit spaces in these values. Thus, a real alpha-3 ID is what is needed for such situations.



Peter Constable