Review of Content Standard Codes for the Representation of Languages for Information Interchange




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Review of Content Standard

Codes for the Representation of Languages for Information Interchange

ANSI/NISO Z39.53-2001
November, 2005


    1. This review is intended to assess the potential utility of content standards for use and potentially for inclusion in an ISO 11179-based metadata registry. The review is directed primarily toward the utility of the standard itself, rather than to matching the standard with specific agency programs. The review covers issues such as the subject area, currency, quality, authority, and acceptance of the standards. These are factors that need to be taken into account no matter what the programmatic application of the standard may be.

1. Summary


A standardized 3-character code to indicate language in the exchange of information is defined. Codes are given for languages, contemporary and historical.

2. Identification of Standard

2.1. Title


Codes for the Representation of Languages for Information Interchange


2.2. Acronym

ANSI/NISO Z39.53-2001

2.3. Web page(s), Identifier, or Contact Information:

2.3.1 Web page(s)


Free PDF Download from:

http://www.techstreet.com/cgi-bin/detail?product_id=924637

http://www.niso.org/standards/resources/Z39-53.pdf


2.3.2 Identifier


ISBN: 10415653

2.3.3 Contact Information


National Information Standards Organization
4733 Bethesda Avenue, Suite 300, Bethesda, MD 20814
Phone: 301-654-2512 Fax: 301-654-1721 Email: nisohq@niso.org

2.4 Authority


2.4.1 Creator

National Information Standards Organization



2.4.2. Acceptance as authoritative

The alpha-3 code set was devised for use by libraries, information services, and publishers to indicate language in the exchange of information, especially in computerized systems. The codes have been widely used in the library community and may also be adopted for any application requiring the expression of language in coded form by terminologists and lexicographers.


2.5 Publisher


http://www.techstreet.com/cgi-bin/detail?product_id=924637

http://www.niso.org/standards/resources/Z39-53.pdf


2.6 Language(s)


English

3. Content description

3.1 Subject area of content and area of application


The three-character code, based on ISO 639-2, was devised primarily for use in bibliography, as well as in terminology. It has a less restrictive scope than ISO 639-1, being devised to include identifiers for languages that are most frequently represented in the total body of the world's literature, regardless of whether specialized terminologies exist in those languages or not. Because three characters allow for a much larger set of distinct identifiers, an alpha-3 code can accommodate a much larger set of languages. Indeed, ISO 639-2 does include significantly more entries than ISO 639-1, yet the scope is not so broad as to result in a separate identifier for every individual language that has been documented. ISO 639-2 limits coverage of individual languages to those for which at least modest bodies of literature have been developed. Other languages are still accommodated, however, by means of identifiers for collections of languages, such as language families.

3.2 Kind of content


In the ISO 639-2 standard, two code sets are provided in which the language codes are the same except for 22 of the 450+ languages that have alternative codes. One set is for bibliographic applications, often referred to as ISO 639-2/B, and the other for terminology applications, referred to as ISO 639-2/T. The choice of the set used must be made clear by exchanging partners prior to information interchange.

Z39.53 only includes ISO 639-2/B.


3.3 Audience(s)


This standard provides libraries, information services, and publishers a standardized 3-character code to indicate language in the exchange of information.



3.4 Related Standards


See the CMAPs “Relationships Among MARC Standards” and “Language Standards Relationships.”

3.5 Standards Dependencies


See the CMAPs “Relationships Among MARC Standards” and “Language Standards Relationships.”

3.6 Content Quality

Number of documents. The request for a new language code should include evidence that one agency holds 50 different documents in the language or that five agencies hold a total of 50 different documents among them in the language. Documents include all forms of material and are not limited to text.

Collective codes. If the criteria above are not met, the language may be included in a collective language code. The words "languages" or "Other" as part of a language name indicates that a language code is a collective one.

4. Currency of Content

4.1 Date


20010831

4.2 Versions, Updates/4.3 Currency


Z39.53 codes are tied to ISO 639 language codes, which are usually not changed in order to ensure continuity and stability of online retrieval from large databases built over many years. However, when language names associated with codes have been changed, variant forms of a language name may be included in the entry, separated by a semicolon in the code lists.

Obsolete codes are generally not reassigned when they have been changed or discontinued.

A list of codes that have been changed or added to the lists are located at: www.loc.gov/standards/iso639-2/codechanges.html.

To request a change to the name of an already defined language name, please see: www.loc.gov/standards/iso639-2/iso639-2chform.html.

The next review will be in 2006.


Maintenance Agency: Library of Congress

5. Acceptance

The alpha-3 code set was devised for use by libraries, information services, and publishers to indicate language in the exchange of information, especially in computerized systems. The codes have been widely used in the library community and may also be adopted for any application requiring the expression of language in coded form by terminologists and lexicographers.



This set of codes is widely used in Internet applications.

6. Content details

6.1 Size statistics (estimated)


The PDF file is 24 pages. There are 464 codes.

6.2 Format / Schemas(s)/6.3 Media / Download


Format

Language

Availability

Price

Order




  Printed Edition

English

Ships In 24 - 48 Hours

$ 39.00 USD








Download Free PDF (right-click on link to save)
Download Instructions

Immediate Download

Free

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6.4 Licensing Issues


All NISO standards are protected by copyright. NISO standards can be downloaded and reproduced for noncommercial purposes only. NISO standards cannot be translated, modified, redistributed, sold or repackaged in any form without the prior permission of NISO. Inquiries regarding commercial reproduction and translation should be directed to: nisohq@niso.org

6.5 Documentation


The Library of Congress website has a good amount of background material:

http://www.loc.gov/standards


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