International Organization for Standardization

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International Organization for Standardization
Organisation internationale de normalisation
AbbreviationISO
Formation23 February 1947 (23 February 1947)
Type Non-governmental organization
Purpose International standards development
Headquarters Geneva, Switzerland
Membership
167 members
(39 correspondents and
4 subscribers) [1]
Official languages
  • English
  • French
  • Russian [2]
President
Ulrika Francke
Website www.iso.org OOjs UI icon edit-ltr-progressive.svg

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO; /ˈs/ [3] ) is an international standard development organization composed of representatives from the national standards organizations of member countries. [4] Membership requirements are given in Article 3 of the ISO Statutes. [5]

Contents

Founded on 23 February 1947, the organization develops and publishes standardization in all technical and nontechnical fields other than electrical and electronic engineering. [6] It is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, [7] and works in 167 countries as of 2022. The three official languages of the ISO are English, French, and Russian. [2]

Overview

The International Organization for Standardization is an independent, non-governmental organization, whose membership consists of different national standards bodies. [8] As of 2022, there are 167 members representing ISO in their country, with each country having only one member. [7]

The organization develops and publishes international standards in all technical and nontechnical fields other than electrical and electronic engineering, which are the responsibility of the International Electrotechnical Commission. [6] As of April 2022, the ISO has developed over 24,261 standards, covering everything from manufactured products and technology to food safety, agriculture, and healthcare. [7] [9]

ISO has 804 technical committees and subcommittees concerned with standards development. [7]

Name and abbreviations

The International Organization for Standardization in French is Organisation internationale de normalisation and in Russian, Международная организация по стандартизации (Mezhdunarodnaya organizatsiya po standartizatsii).

The letters ISO do not represent an acronym or initialism. The organization provides this explanation of the name:

Because 'International Organization for Standardization' would have different acronyms in different languages (IOS in English, OIN in French), our founders decided to give it the short form ISO. ISO is derived from the Greek word isos (ίσος, meaning "equal"). Whatever the country, whatever the language, the short form of our name is always ISO. [10]

During the founding meetings of the new organization, however, the Greek word explanation was not invoked, so this meaning may be a false etymology. [11]

Both the name ISO and the ISO logo are registered trademarks and their use is restricted. [12]

History

Plaque marking the building in Prague where the ISO predecessor, the ISA, was founded. Memory plaque of founding ISA in Prague cropped.jpg
Plaque marking the building in Prague where the ISO predecessor, the ISA, was founded.

The organization that is known today as ISO began in 1926 as the International Federation of the National Standardizing Associations (ISA), which primarily focused on mechanical engineering. The ISA was suspended in 1942 during World War II; however, after the war, the ISA was approached by the recently-formed United Nations Standards Coordinating Committee (UNSCC) with a proposal to form a new global standards body. [13]

In October 1946, ISA and UNSCC delegates from 25 countries met in London and agreed to join forces to create the International Organization for Standardization. The organization officially began operations in 23 February 1947. [14] [15]

Structure and organization

ISO is a voluntary organization whose members are recognized authorities on standards, each one representing one country. Members meet annually at a General Assembly to discuss the strategic objectives of ISO. The organization is coordinated by a central secretariat based in Geneva. [16]

A council with a rotating membership of 20 member bodies provides guidance and governance, including setting the annual budget of the central secretariat. [16] [17]

The technical management board is responsible for more than 250 technical committees, who develop the ISO standards. [16] [18] [19] [20]

Joint technical committee with IEC

ISO has a joint technical committee (JTC) with the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) to develop standards relating to information technology (IT). Known as JTC 1 and entitled "Information technology", it was created in 1987 and its mission is "to develop worldwide Information and Communication Technology (ICT) standards for business and consumer applications." [21] [22]

There was previously also a JTC 2 that was created in 2009 for a joint project to establish common terminology for "standardization in the field of energy efficiency and renewable energy sources". [23] It was later disbanded.

Membership

A map of ISO members as of November 2020

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ISO member countries with a national standards body and ISO voting rights
Correspondent members (countries without a national standards body)
Subscriber members (countries with small economies) ISO Members 2020.svg
A map of ISO members as of November 2020
  ISO member countries with a national standards body and ISO voting rights
  Correspondent members (countries without a national standards body)
  Subscriber members (countries with small economies)

As of 2022, there are 167 national members representing ISO in their country, with each country having only one member. [7] [8]

ISO has three membership categories, [1]

Participating members are called "P" members, as opposed to observing members, who are called "O" members.

Financing

ISO is funded by a combination of: [24]

International standards and other publications

International standards are the main products of ISO. It also publishes technical reports, technical specifications, publicly available specifications, technical corrigenda, and guides. [25] [26]

International standards

These are designated using the format ISO[/IEC] [/ASTM] [IS] nnnnn[-p]:[yyyy] Title, where nnnnn is the number of the standard, p is an optional part number, yyyy is the year published, and Title describes the subject. IEC for International Electrotechnical Commission is included if the standard results from the work of ISO/IEC JTC1 (the ISO/IEC Joint Technical Committee). ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials) is used for standards developed in cooperation with ASTM International. yyyy and IS are not used for an incomplete or unpublished standard and, under some circumstances, may be left off the title of a published work.

Technical reports

These are issued when a technical committee or subcommittee has collected data of a different kind from that normally published as an International Standard, [25] such as references and explanations. The naming conventions for these are the same as for standards, except TR prepended instead of IS in the report's name.

For example:

Technical and publicly available specifications

Technical specifications may be produced when "the subject in question is still under development or where for any other reason there is the future but not immediate possibility of an agreement to publish an International Standard". A publicly available specification is usually "an intermediate specification, published prior to the development of a full International Standard, or, in IEC may be a 'dual logo' publication published in collaboration with an external organization". [25] By convention, both types of specification are named in a manner similar to the organization's technical reports.

For example:

Technical corrigenda

ISO also sometimes issues "technical corrigenda" (where "corrigenda" is the plural of corrigendum). These are amendments made to existing standards due to minor technical flaws, usability improvements, or limited-applicability extensions. They are generally issued with the expectation that the affected standard will be updated or withdrawn at its next scheduled review. [25]

ISO guides

These are meta-standards covering "matters related to international standardization". [25] They are named using the format "ISO[/IEC] Guide N:yyyy: Title".

For example:

ISO documents have strict copyright restrictions and ISO charges for most copies. As of 2020, the typical cost of a copy of an ISO standard is about US$120 or more (and electronic copies typically have a single-user license, so they cannot be shared among groups of people). [27] Some standards by ISO and its official U.S. representative (and, via the U.S. National Committee, the International Electrotechnical Commission) are made freely available. [28] [29]

Standardization process

A standard published by ISO/IEC is the last stage of a long process that commonly starts with the proposal of new work within a committee. Some abbreviations used for marking a standard with its status are: [30] [31] [32] [33] [34] [35] [36]

Abbreviations used for amendments are: [30] [31] [32] [33] [34] [35] [36] [37]

Other abbreviations are: [34] [35] [37] [38]

International Standards are developed by ISO technical committees (TC) and subcommittees (SC) by a process with six steps: [32] [39]

The TC/SC may set up working groups  (WG) of experts for the preparation of a working drafts. Subcommittees may have several working groups, which may have several Sub Groups (SG). [40]

Stages in the development process of an ISO standard [31] [32] [33] [36] [39] [37]
Stage codeStageAssociated document nameAbbreviations
  • Description
  • Notes
00PreliminaryPreliminary work itemPWI
10ProposalNew work item proposal
  • NP or NWIP
  • NP Amd/TR/TS/IWA
20PreparatoryWorking draft or drafts
  • AWI
  • AWI Amd/TR/TS
  • WD
  • WD Amd/TR/TS
30CommitteeCommittee draft or drafts
  • CD
  • CD Amd/Cor/TR/TS
  • PDAmd (PDAM)
  • PDTR
  • PDTS
40EnquiryEnquiry draft
  • DIS
  • FCD
  • FPDAmd
  • DAmd (DAM)
  • FPDISP
  • DTR
  • DTS
(CDV in IEC)
50ApprovalFinal draft
  • FDIS
  • FDAmd (FDAM)
  • PRF
  • PRF Amd/TTA/TR/TS/Suppl
  • FDTR
60PublicationInternational Standard
  • ISO
  • TR
  • TS
  • IWA
  • Amd
  • Cor
90Review
95Withdrawal

It is possible to omit certain stages, if there is a document with a certain degree of maturity at the start of a standardization project, for example, a standard developed by another organization. ISO/IEC directives also allow the so-called "Fast-track procedure". In this procedure a document is submitted directly for approval as a draft International Standard (DIS) to the ISO member bodies or as a final draft International Standard (FDIS), if the document was developed by an international standardizing body recognized by the ISO Council. [32]

The first step—a proposal of work (New Proposal) is approved at the relevant subcommittee or technical committee (e.g., SC29 and JTC1 respectively in the case of Moving Picture Experts Group – ISO/IEC JTC1/SC29/WG11). A working group (WG) of experts is set up by the TC/SC for the preparation of a working draft. When the scope of a new work is sufficiently clarified, some of the working groups (e.g., MPEG) usually make open request for proposals—known as a "call for proposals". The first document that is produced, for example, for audio and video coding standards is called a verification model (VM) (previously also called a "simulation and test model"). When a sufficient confidence in the stability of the standard under development is reached, a working draft (WD) is produced. This is in the form of a standard, but is kept internal to working group for revision. When a working draft is sufficiently solid and the working group is satisfied that it has developed the best technical solution to the problem being addressed, it becomes a committee draft (CD). If it is required, it is then sent to the P-members of the TC/SC (national bodies) for ballot.

The committee draft becomes final committee draft (FCD) if the number of positive votes exceeds the quorum. Successive committee drafts may be considered until consensus is reached on the technical content. When consensus is reached, the text is finalized for submission as a draft International Standard (DIS). Then the text is submitted to national bodies for voting and comment within a period of five months. It is approved for submission as a final draft International Standard (FDIS) if a two-thirds majority of the P-members of the TC/SC are in favour and if not more than one-quarter of the total number of votes cast are negative. ISO will then hold a ballot with National Bodies where no technical changes are allowed (yes/no ballot), within a period of two months. It is approved as an International Standard (IS) if a two-thirds majority of the P-members of the TC/SC is in favour and not more than one-quarter of the total number of votes cast are negative. After approval, only minor editorial changes are introduced into the final text. The final text is sent to the ISO central secretariat, which publishes it as the International Standard. [30] [32]

International Workshop Agreements

International Workshop Agreements (IWAs) follow a slightly different process outside the usual committee system but overseen by the ISO, allowing "key industry players to negotiate in an open workshop environment" in order to shape the IWA standard. [41]

Products named after ISO

On occasion, the fact that many of the ISO-created standards are ubiquitous has led to common use of "ISO" to describe the product that conforms to a standard. Some examples of this are:

Criticism

With the exception of a small number of isolated standards, [28] normally ISO standards are not available free of charge, but for a purchase fee, [42] which has been seen by some as unaffordable for small open-source projects. [43]

The ISO/IEC JTC 1 fast-track procedures ("Fast-track" as used by OOXML and "PAS" as used by OpenDocument) have garnered criticism in relation to the standardization of Office Open XML (ISO/IEC 29500). Martin Bryan, outgoing convenor of ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 34 WG1, is quoted as saying: [44]

I would recommend my successor that it is perhaps time to pass WG1’s outstanding standards over to OASIS (Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards), where they can get approval in less than a year and then do a PAS submission to ISO, which will get a lot more attention and be approved much faster than standards currently can be within WG1.

The disparity of rules for PAS, Fast-Track and ISO committee generated standards is fast making ISO a laughing stock in IT circles. The days of open standards development are fast disappearing. Instead we are getting "standardization by corporation".

The computer security entrepreneur and Ubuntu founder, Mark Shuttleworth, commented on the Standardization of Office Open XML process by saying: "I think it de-values the confidence people have in the standards setting process", and alleged that ISO did not carry out its responsibility. He also noted that Microsoft had intensely lobbied many countries that traditionally had not participated in ISO and stacked technical committees with Microsoft employees, solution providers, and resellers sympathetic to Office Open XML: [45]

When you have a process built on trust and when that trust is abused, ISO should halt the process... ISO is an engineering old boys club and these things are boring so you have to have a lot of passion ... then suddenly you have an investment of a lot of money and lobbying and you get artificial results. The process is not set up to deal with intensive corporate lobbying and so you end up with something being a standard that is not clear.

See also

ISO divisions

Technical Committees of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) include:

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Moving Picture Experts Group</span> Alliance of working groups to set standards for multimedia coding

The Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG) is an alliance of working groups established jointly by ISO and IEC that sets standards for media coding, including compression coding of audio, video, graphics, and genomic data; and transmission and file formats for various applications. Together with JPEG, MPEG is organized under ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 29 – Coding of audio, picture, multimedia and hypermedia information.

The Open Document Format for Office Applications (ODF), also known as OpenDocument, is an open file format for spreadsheets, charts, presentations and word processing documents using ZIP-compressed XML files. It was developed with the aim of providing an open, XML-based file format specification for office applications. It is also the default format for documents in typical Linux distributions.

Office Open XML is a zipped, XML-based file format developed by Microsoft for representing spreadsheets, charts, presentations and word processing documents. Ecma International standardized the initial version as ECMA-376. ISO and IEC standardized later versions as ISO/IEC 29500.

The Open Document Format for Office Applications, commonly known as OpenDocument, was based on OpenOffice.org XML, as used in OpenOffice.org 1, and was standardised by the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS) consortium.

ISO/IEC JTC 1, entitled "Information technology", is a joint technical committee (JTC) of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). Its purpose is to develop, maintain and promote standards in the fields of information and communications technology (ICT).

ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 22 Programming languages, their environments and system software interfaces is a standardization subcommittee of the Joint Technical Committee ISO/IEC JTC 1 of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) that develops and facilitates standards within the fields of programming languages, their environments and system software interfaces. ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 22 is also sometimes referred to as the "portability subcommittee". The international secretariat of ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 22 is the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), located in the United States.

ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 27 Information security, cybersecurity and privacy protection is a standardization subcommittee of the Joint Technical Committee ISO/IEC JTC 1 of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 27 develops International Standards, Technical Reports, and Technical Specifications within the field of information security. Standardization activity by this subcommittee includes general methods, management system requirements, techniques and guidelines to address information security, cybersecurity and privacy. Drafts of International Standards by ISO/IEC JTC 1 or any of its subcommittees are sent out to participating national standardization bodies for ballot, comments and contributions. Publication as an ISO/IEC International Standard requires approval by a minimum of 75% of the national bodies casting a vote. The international secretariat of ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 27 is the Deutsches Institut für Normung (DIN) located in Germany.

ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 36 Information Technology for Learning, Education and Training is a standardization subcommittee (SC), which is part of the Joint Technical Committee ISO/IEC JTC 1 of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), that develops and facilitates standards within the field of information technology (IT) for learning, education and training (LET). ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 36 was established at the November 1999 ISO/IEC JTC 1 plenary in Seoul, Korea. The subcommittee held its first plenary meeting in March 2000 in London, United Kingdom. The international secretariat of ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 36 is the Korean Agency for Technology and Standards (KATS), located in the Republic of Korea.

ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 37 Biometrics is a standardization subcommittee in the Joint Technical Committee ISO/IEC JTC 1 of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), which develops and facilitates standards within the field of biometrics. The international secretariat of ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 37 is the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), located in the United States.

ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 25 Interconnection of information technology equipment is a standardization subcommittee of the Joint Technical Committee ISO/IEC JTC 1, of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), which develops and facilitates standards within the field of interconnection of information technology equipment. The international secretariat of ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 25 is the Deutsches Institut für Normung (DIN) located in Germany.

ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 28 Office equipment is a standardization subcommittee of the Joint Technical Committee ISO/IEC JTC 1 of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), that develops and facilitates international standards, technical reports, and technical specifications within the field of office equipment and products, and systems composed of combinations of office equipment. The group's main focus lies within the area of printers and copiers. The international secretariat of ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 28 is the Japanese Industrial Standards Committee (JISC) located in Japan.

ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 2 Coded character sets is a standardization subcommittee of the Joint Technical Committee ISO/IEC JTC 1 of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), that develops and facilitates standards within the field of coded character sets. The international secretariat of ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 2 is the Japanese Industrial Standards Committee (JISC), located in Japan. SC 2 is responsible for the development of the Universal Coded Character Set which is the international standard corresponding to the Unicode Standard.

ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 32 Data management and interchange is a standardization subcommittee of the Joint Technical Committee ISO/IEC JTC 1 of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), which develops and facilitates standards within the field of data management and interchange. The international secretariat of ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 32 is the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) located in the United States.

ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 29, entitled Coding of audio, picture, multimedia and hypermedia information, is a standardization subcommittee of the Joint Technical Committee ISO/IEC JTC 1 of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). It develops and facilitates international standards, technical reports, and technical specifications within the field of audio, picture, multimedia, and hypermedia information coding. The standards developed by SC 29 have been recognized by nine Emmy Awards.

ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 24 Computer graphics, image processing and environmental data representation is a standardization subcommittee of the joint subcommittee ISO/IEC JTC 1 of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), which develops and facilitates standards within the field of computer graphics, image processing, and environmental data representation. The international secretariat of ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 24 is the British Standards Institute (BSI) located in the United Kingdom.

Note: This working group has been disbanded.

ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 23 Digitally recorded media for information interchange and storage is a standardization subcommittee of the joint technical committee ISO/IEC JTC 1 of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), which develops and facilitates standards within the field of removable digital storage media for digital information interchange. The international secretariat of ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 23 is the Japanese Industrial Standards Committee (JISC) located in Japan.

ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 17 Cards and personal identification is a standardization subcommittee of the Joint Technical Committee ISO/IEC JTC 1 of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), which develops and facilitates standards within the field of identification cards and personal identification. The international secretariat of ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 17 is the British Standards Institution (BSI) located in the United Kingdom.

ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 35 User interfaces is a standardization subcommittee (SC), which is part of the joint technical committee, ISO/IEC JTC 1, of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), that develops standards within the field of user-system interfaces in information and communication technology (ICT) environments. The subcommittee was founded at the 1998 Sendai ISO/IEC JTC 1 Plenary meeting, before which it was a working group directly under ISO/IEC JTC 1. The international secretariat of ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 35 is AFNOR, located in France.

ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 31 Automatic identification and data capture techniques is a subcommittee of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) Joint Technical Committee (JTC) 1, and was established in 1996. SC 31 develops and facilitates international standards, technical reports, and technical specifications in the field of automatic identification and data capture techniques. The first Plenary established three working groups (WGs): Data Carriers, Data Content, and Conformance. Subsequent Plenaries established other working groups: RFID, RTLS, Mobile Item Identification and Management, Security and File Management, and Applications.

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Further reading