|International Organization for Standardization
Organisation internationale de normalisation
Logo of ISO in English
list of members
|Formation||23 February 1947|
|Official languages||English, French and Russian|
The International Organization for Standardization (Organisation internationale de normalisation), widely known as ISO (pronounced /ˈaɪsoʊ/), is an international-standard-setting body composed of representatives from various national standards organizations. Founded on 23 February 1947, the organization promulgates worldwide proprietary industrial and commercial standards. It has its headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. While ISO defines itself as a non-governmental organization, its ability to set standards that often become law, either through treaties or national standards, makes it more powerful than most non-governmental organizations. In practice, ISO acts as a consortium with strong links to governments.
The organization's logos in its two official languages, English and French, include the word ISO (pronounced /ˈaɪsoʊ/), and it is usually referred to by this short-form name. ISO is not an acronym or initialism for the organization's full name in either official language. Rather, the organization adopted ISO based on the Greek word isos (ἴσος), meaning equal. Recognizing that the organization’s initials would be different in different languages, the organization's founders chose ISO as the universal short form of its name. This, in itself, reflects the aim of the organization: to equalize and standardize across cultures.
International Standards are identified in the format ISO[/IEC][/ASTM] [IS] nnnnn[:yyyy] Title, where nnnnn is the number of the standard, 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. The date and IS are not used for an incomplete or unpublished standard, and may under some circumstances be left off the title of a published work.
Technical Reports are issued when "a technical committee or subcommittee has collected data of a different kind from that which is normally published as an International Standard". 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. Examples:
Technical Specifications can 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". Publicly Available Specifications may be "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". Both are named by convention similar to Technical Reports, for example:
ISO sometimes issues a Technical Corrigendum. These are amendments to existing standards because of minor technical flaws, usability improvements, or to extend applicability in a limited way. Generally, these are issued with the expectation that the affected standard will be updated or withdrawn at its next scheduled review.
ISO Guides are meta-standards covering "matters related to international standardization". They are named in the format "ISO[/IEC] Guide N:yyyy: Title", for example:
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. Here are some abbreviations used for marking a standard with its status:
Abbreviations used for amendments:
|Stage code||Stage||Associated document name||Abbreviations||Description|
|00||Preliminary stage||Preliminary work item||PWI|
|10||Proposal stage||New work item proposal||NP or NWIP, NP Amd/TR/TS/IWA|
|20||Preparatory stage||Working draft(s)||AWI, AWI Amd/TR/TS, WD, WD Amd/TR/TS|
|30||Committee stage||Committee draft(s)||CD, CD Amd/Cor/TR/TS, PDAmd (PDAM), PDTR, PDTS|
|40||Enquiry stage||Enquiry draft||DIS, FCD, FPDAmd, DAmd (DAM), FPDISP, DTR, DTS||(CDV in IEC)|
|50||Approval stage||final draft International Standard||FDIS, FDAmd (FDAM), PRF, PRF Amd/TTA/TR/TS/Suppl, FDTR|
|60||Publication stage||International Standard||ISO TR, TS, IWA, Amd, Cor|
|90||Review stage||ISO TR, TS, IWA, Amd, Cor|
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 allow also 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.
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 "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 Committee Draft (CD). If it is required, it is then sent to the P-members of the TC/SC (National Bodies) for ballot. The CD becomes Final Committee Draft (FCD) if the number of positive votes is above the quorum. Successive committee drafts may be considered until consensus is reached on the technical content. When it is reached, the text is finalized for submission as a draft International Standard (DIS). The text is then 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 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.
ISO documents are copyrighted and ISO charges for copies of most. ISO does not, however, charge for most draft copies of documents in electronic format. Although useful, care must be taken using these drafts as there is the possibility of substantial change before it becomes finalized as a standard. Some standards by ISO and its official U.S. representative (and the International Electrotechnical Commission's via the U.S. National Committee) are made freely available.
ISO has three membership categories:
Participating members are called "P" members as opposed to observing members which are called "O" members.
The fact that many of the ISO-created standards are ubiquitous has led, on occasion, to common use of "ISO" to describe the actual product that conforms to a standard. Some examples of this are:
To deal with the consequences of substantial overlap in areas of standardization and work related to information technology, ISO and IEC formed a Joint Technical Committee known as the ISO/IEC JTC1. It was the first such joint committee. The second joint committee was created in 2009 - Joint Project Committee - Energy efficiency and renewable energy sources - Common terminology (ISO/IEC/JTC 2).
Like ISO/TS, International Workshop Agreement (IWA) is another armoury of ISO for providing rapid response to requirements for standardization in areas where the technical structures and expertise are not currently in place. The utility harmonizes technical urgency industrial wide.
With the exception of a small number of isolated standards, ISO standards are normally not available free of charge, but for a purchase fee, which has been seen by some as too expensive for small Open source projects.
The ISO/IEC JTC1 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 JTC1/SC34 WG1, is quoted as saying:
I would recommend my successor that it is perhaps time to pass WG1’s outstanding standards over to OASIS, 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'.
I think it de-values the confidence people have in the standards setting process,
and Shuttleworth 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.
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.