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International Organization for Standardization
The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is a non-governmental organization founded in 1947, whose aim is to promote worldwide usage of common standards.
The members of the International Organization for Standardization are the national standardization organizations of the member countries, such as the British Standards Institution in the UK, the American National Standards Institute in the USA, the Bureau of Indian Standards in India, the Association Française de Normalisation in France, the Deutsches Institut für Normung in Germany, the Standards Council of Canada, etc. Its headquarters are located in Geneva, Switzerland.
Examples of ISO standards[edit | edit source]
- ISO 8601 (full title: Data elements and interchange formats – Information interchange – Representation of dates and times) is more and more commonly used to represent dates and times. For instance, we use it on Vikidia to represent week numbers, such as in the page Vikidia:Image of the week.
- ISO 3166-1 (full title: Codes for the representation of names of countries and their subdivisions – Part 1: Country codes) is commonly used to refer to countries by means of 2-letter or 3-letter codes (e.g. " "BE" or "BEL" for Belgium). For instance, nearly all of the 2-letter codes in this ISO standard are used as Internet top-level domains for their respective countries.
- ISO 2108 (full title: Information and documentation -- International standard book number (ISBN)) defines those unique identifiers we find on nearly all books we can buy anywhere in the World. The latest revision of this standard, issued in 2005, extended the numbering scheme from 10 to 13 numbers.
Relation with other organizations[edit | edit source]
Other international standardization organizations exist, some covering very specialized fields, others having a broader scope. Members of these organizations often include companies active in a certain domain. These organisations publish their own standards and push for their usage within their specialized area. The development process of standards within these specialized organizations is often more agile than the one conducting to ISO standards. Intermediate versions of standards being created, while still being discussed, may be implemented already (sometimes partially) by companies in their products or processes. Occasionally, stable versions of those standards then get submitted as proposals for becoming ISO standards.
Some examples of such organisations include:
- IEEE, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Standards Association
- IETF, the Internet Engineering Task Force
- ITU, the International Telecommunication Union
- OASIS, the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards, focuses on structures allowing the exchange of data. One of its well-known standards is ODF (the OpenDocument Format for Office Applications), used as default storage format by software such as OpenOffice.org and LibreOffice, which has been endorsed by the ISO (ISO/IEC 26300).
- UPU, the Universal Postal Union, is actually an agency of the United Nations.
- W3C, the World Wide Web Consortium, founded by Tim Berners-Lee (the inventor of the Web), maintains standards such as HTML and XML. Some of them have been endorsed by the ISO, such as the WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) whose version 2.0 is also known as ISO/IEC 40500.
Notes[edit | edit source]
- One major exception is the top-level domain ".uk" for the United Kingdom, whereas the ISO standard defines "GB" for that country.