Document:                                                                                                     ISO / TC 37 / SC 2 / WG 1 N 88

ISO / TC 37 / SC 2 / WG 1 “Coding systems”

Subject:                    Report of the ninth meeting of ISO / TC 37 / SC 2 / WG 1
[Toronto, 2001-08-14]

Prepared by:            Håvard Hjulstad (convener of ISO / TC 37 / SC 2 / WG 1)

Date:                       2001-09-24


1.    Opening of the meeting

The convener opened the meeting at 0900. The convener chaired the meeting. He underscored that the meeting would partly be a formal WG meeting and partly a workshop to discuss user requirements and future directions for the work with language coding. For the purpose of the workshop a number of experts had been invited who are not nominated members of the WG.

2.    Roll call of participants

A roll call form was circulated. The participants also introduced themselves orally.

The following members and invited experts participated.

Marta Alonso, Austria, ISO / TC 37 secretariat

Gerhard Budin, Austria, ISO / TC 37 / SC 2 chair

John Clews, UK

Peter Constable, USA

Chris Cox, UK

Jennifer DeCamp, USA

Christian Galinski, Austria, ISO / TC 37 secretary

John L. (Monte) George, USA

Rebecca Guenther, USA

Håvard Hjulstad, Norway, ISO / TC 37 / SC 2 / WG 1 convener

Helen Hutcheson, Canada, ISO / TC 37 / SC 2 secretary

Jake Knoppers, Canada

Marie-Claire Morin, France

Glenn Patton, USA

Janice Pereira, Canada

Peter Port, ISO/TC46/SC3

Yuka Sasaki, Japan

Jean Schwob, France

Gary Simons, USA

3.    Adoption of the agenda

The agenda was adopted as presented in document ISO/TC37/SC2 N 235 with the addition of a new item between items 4 and 5: “Report of the convener”. In this report the agenda items are renumbered from item 5.

4.    Appointment of a drafting committee

Mr John Clews, Ms Helen Hutcheson, and Ms Marie-Claire Morin were appointed to serve on the drafting committee, together with the convener.

5.    Report of the convener

The convener’s report is available as document ISO/TC37/SC2/WG1 N 73. The convener highlighted a few points from the report. He also reported briefly from the meeting between the Registration Authorities for ISO 639 (parts 1 and 2), which took place on Monday, 13 August 2001.

6.    Open discussion about language coding and the need and feasibility to standardize language coding

This agenda item took most of the day (from 0930 to 1600). Based on five presentations the discussion gave very much input for future work.

Jennifer DeCamp presented user requirements for language coding. Her PowerPoint presentation (which she did not display due to lack of equipment) is available as document ISO/TC37/SC2/WG1 N 78.

Jake Knoppers presented input from ISO/IEC JTC 1 / SC 32 and submitted a number of documents (available as documents ISO/TC37/SC2/WG1 N 79 through 87). He also had a formal liaison request, which will be addressed at the SC 2 plenary.

Gary Simons gave a brief presentation of SIL, and Peter Constable presented a “Mapping between ISO 639 and the SIL Ethnologue”, which is available as document ISO/TC37/SC2/WG1 N 76.

Håvard Hjulstad (convener) presented two outlines for possible work items: document ISO/TC37/SC2/WG1 N 72 (“Additional language coding”) and document ISO/TC37/SC2/WG1 N 71 (“Language group coding”).

Chris Cox presented a draft for a work item, “Development and application of ISO 639 in the identification, classification and alphanumeric coding of the world’s languages”. The document is available as ISO/TC37/SC2/WG1 N 77.

7.    New Work Item Proposals

Three ideas for formal NWIPs were presented at the meeting. An informal “study group” was established to look at possible standardization projects on the basis of these presentations and the discussion at the meeting. Gerhard Budin was asked to convene the “study group” and to report to the SC 2 plenary (Friday, 17 August 2001).

8.    Next steps

This will follow from the report of the “study group” and the discussion and possible resolutions at the SC 2 plenary. The plenary needs to assess whether the “study group” should continue its work as a more formal Task Force.

9.    Requirements concerning a subsequent meeting

The next formal meeting of the Working Group will be during the ISO / TC 37 meeting week in Austria in August 2002. It is expected that a one-day meeting will be needed.

10.  Any other business

The convener informed the group once again that document circulation will be in electronic form only. To be kept informed about developments concerning language coding WG members should subscribe to relevant email lists, in particular and relevant Unicode lists.

[To subscribe to send email to with the text “subscribe iso639” only.]

11.  Approval of resolutions

No resolutions were discussed.

12.  Closure of the meeting

The convenor closed the meeting at 1640.