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ISO 639/JAC N2R
ISO 639 Joint Advisory Committee
Rules of procedure for conducting business
(10 March 2000)
The following documents rules of procedure for the conduct of meetings and
email business by the ISO 639 Joint Advisory Committee. It repeats some
information that is in ISO 639-2:1998 in the normative Annex A and elaborates
where necessary for clarification of procedures. In particular it details
how business is run in the absence of regular meetings.
1. Composition of the Joint Advisory Committee
ISO 639/JAC is composed of:
- one representative of the International Information Centre for Terminology
(Infoterm; representing ISO 639-1/RA)
- one representative of the Library of Congress (LC; representing ISO
- three representatives of ISO/TC 37 (nominated by ISO/TC 37)
- three representatives of ISO/TC 46 (nominated by ISO/TC46)
Both ISO/TCs may nominate substitute representatives for a meeting.
2. Membership of ISO 639/JAC
- Representatives of Infoterm and Library of Congress will hold the
chair on a 2-year rotating basis. The first term begins at the first
meeting in February 2000.
- Up to six technical experts may be asked to participate as non-voting
observers. Each TC (TC37 and TC46) may appoint three observers based
on the issues and topics being discussed.
- Representatives may be reappointed or replaced if necessary by the
appropriate TC. Observers may be replaced by the appropriate rotating
3. Procedures for conducting business at meetings
- An agenda will be distributed at least two months prior to the meeting.
It will be amended as needed when meeting is convened if there is agreement.
- Each member of ISO 639/JAC has one vote.
- Voting is obligatory.
- A vote must be unanimous for approval of an item. If there are abstentions,
it shall not be considered unanimous approval.
- If a unanimous vote cannot be reached on an item, a second vote will
be conducted following discussion.
- At least five positive votes are required to pass on the second ballot.
3.3. Role of observers
- The designated observers may attend a JAC meeting. No more than three
observers from each TC may attend.
- Observers shall function as experts concerning specific language issues,
not for procedural issues.
- Observers will be asked to contribute as necessary.
- Observers may not vote.
- Experts on specific topics may attend future meetings if appropriate
as determined by the chair.
4. Procedures for conducting business by electronic mail
4.1. Electronic communications
- An electronic distribution list will include all ISO 639/JAC members
and appointed observers.
- Numbered documents are distributed by the chair. They may be distributed
to the JAC list (JAC members and observers) or more widely depending
upon the topic.
- The two rotating chairs may wish to consult on the appropriate distribution
for official committee documents.
- The more general list (firstname.lastname@example.org) may be used for discussion
about general or specific language issues.
- Prior to voting on specific changes new proposals should be openly
discussed on language-related lists.
- The chair may ask specific experts about specific language issues
4.2. Electronic voting procedures
- Voting may take place electronically on the list initially and confirmed
in writing. A printed record will be kept.
- Votes must be submitted within two weeks of the electronic distribution
of the voting request.
- In some circumstances the voting period may be extended if necessary
because of complex issues; in these cases the deadline will be stated
when the voting request is distributed.
- Failure to vote is considered an abstention (and thus a unanimous
ballot cannot be reached with an abstention).
- If a JAC member does not vote after two consecutive times, the JAC
chair will inform the appropriate TC subcommittee and request a replacement.
4.3. Role of observers
- Observers will be included in electronic mail distributions when specific
language issues are discussed and their expertise is needed.
- Observers may be requested to perform research on specific language
issues when needed.
4.4. Deadlines for response
- When a request for a new, deleted, or changed code is submitted to
the appropriate Registration Authority (Infoterm for 639-1 and Library
of Congress for 639-2), the RA determines whether or not the request
meets the relevant criteria.
- The appropriate RA informs the requestor of the process generally
within two weeks of the submission.
- If the request meets the criteria, the RA determines an appropriate
code and consults the ISO 639/JAC.
- ISO 639/JAC is obliged to respond within one month with a decision.
This allows for a second round of voting if the first vote is not unanimous.
- The original requestor shall be informed of the JAC decision in six
weeks to two months from submission of the original request.
- Results of the JAC decisions will be publicized in a newsletter available
on the Web and distributed through distribution lists.
See also Working principles for ISO 639 maintenance (ISO
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