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
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
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
I shall keep the JAC
informed as work progresses.