[Ltru] Re: New UN code elements for "Serbia" and "Montenegro"

"Doug Ewell" <dewell@adelphia.net> Sun, 02 July 2006 21:54 UTC

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From: Doug Ewell <dewell@adelphia.net>
To: LTRU Working Group <ltru@ietf.org>
References: <A29ADE959C70A1449470AA9A212F5D80023068B3@LONSMSXM06.emea.ime.reuters.com>
Date: Sun, 02 Jul 2006 14:50:24 -0700
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Cc: Misha Wolf <Misha.Wolf@reuters.com>
Subject: [Ltru] Re: New UN code elements for "Serbia" and "Montenegro"
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Misha Wolf <Misha dot Wolf at reuters dot com> wrote:

> This rule seems to be a candidate for improvement in the next batch of 
> work.

I agree.  The basic premise of ISO 3166 is that they assign alphabetic 
code elements that correspond to UN numeric code elements.  In other 
words, it is expected that UN will change their code list before ISO 
does.  We prefer to assign region subtags based on ISO code elements 
rather than UN, yet Section 3.1 says the Reviewer is supposed to act 
upon changes to the UN code list just like the others.

I suggest the process should be something like this: when an addition is 
made to the UN list of countries and country-like entities. the Reviewer 
(with assistance as necessary) should investigate whether ISO 3166/MA 
plans to assign a corresponding alpha-2 code element, and if so, should 
NOT automatically add a subtag based on the UN code element, but should 
wait (for a period not to exceed N months) until ISO does its job.

The value N may be subject to some discussion.  Apparently 6 months is 
not uncommon, and the ISO code elements for Guernsey, Jersey, and Isle 
of Man reportedly took 8 months after being proposed because they went 
to a second vote.  (Of course, this does not count the time during which 
the numeric UN codes existed but ISO did not add corresponding alpha 
codes, as they say they do.)

I would certainly hope ISO would not take 6 or more months to assign 
code elements for Serbia and for Montenegro, but even if they do, it 
would still be better to wait for "SP" and "ME" (or whatever the ISO 
code elements will be) than to assign region subtags "688" for Serbia 
and "499" for Montenegro and then, when ISO issues its alpha codes, to 
introduce duplicate alpha subtags that are deprecated in favor of the 
numeric ones.  I'm sure nobody wants to see that.

None of this applies to the supra-national UN code elements, such as 
"035" for South-Eastern Asia.  Clearly, as changes are made to that code 
list, they should be reflected promptly in the Registry, as 
draft-registry already states.

Doug Ewell
Fullerton, California, USA

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