Dear JAC members,
ISO/TMB has established an Ad hoc group "Standards as databases". I represent ISO/TC37 in the group, which had its first meeting in Geneva on 10-11 November 2005. The work may have significant impact on ISO 639, and I thought it may be of interest to the JAC to have some information about the project. Enclosed please find the resolutions from the first meeting.
It is likely that the Ad hoc group will reccomend that International Standards in the future may be published as databases. These databases will not "just" be derived from the Standard; they will actually be the Standard. I should think that the ISO 639 series will be an obvious candidate for this type of publication.
One implication is obviously the maintenance process. The Standard itself will be kept continuously up-to-date, not "just" the tables. The tables of Part 3 (and the future Part 6) will also be an integral part of the Standard, not an external resource that is referenced from the Standard. Furthermore, I should think that we would want to re-think the division into parts. Each item in one combined "Standard as Database" could carry attributes indicating its "status" according to a number of parameters.
In a "Standard as Database" each element may be on different stages in the formal process. There may actually be WD, CD, DIS, FDIS, and IS within the same document (i.e. "Standard as Database"). In this context it would be possible to move ownership of the language coding codespaces from the JAC to the National Member Bodies of the committees in question. We would need to re-think the entire procedure and the JAC.
Let me emphasize that nothing at all has been decided yet. The TMB may be able to start changing the general rules in the course of 2006. It is very unlikely that we will be required to move ISO 639 (or any other International Standard) to a Standard as Database. However, we may find that we want to.
I shall keep the JAC informed as work progresses.
Best regards,
Håvard Hjulstad
Standard Norge / Standards Norway
  P.O.Box 242, NO-1326 Lysaker (Norway)
  +47 67838645 (direct)   fax: +47 67838601
mailto:[log in to unmask]