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About International Standardization

NISO participates in international standardization through the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), located in Geneva, Switzerland. ISO is made up of a network of the national standards institutes of 157 countries. For the United States, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) is the member.

ISO's standards are developed through Technical Committees and their designated Working Groups. Each Technical Committee has a numerical designation (TC##) and a name that reflects the committee's scope.

ANSI manages the U.S. role in each Technical Committee (TC) by designating a U.S. organization as the Technical Advisory Group (TAG) Administrator for a specified ISO TC. The TAG Administrator is responsible for identifying the members of the TAG, communicating information about the TC's activities, distributing ballots, and submitting the U.S. vote and comments for all standards developed by the specified TC. NISO is the appointed TAG Administrator for ISO TC46, Information and documentation. Click here for more information on TC46 and NISO's involvement.

ISO standards development proceeds through a series of stages, as listed below. At each stage a ballot is issued to the members of the TC.

  • New Work Item Proposal (NWI or NP) - Any member may submit a proposal to a TC for a new project (thus the NP acronym) to develop a new standard. The proposal may be accompanied with a working draft (WD), but one is not required. If the proposal is approved, a new working group is established to develop the proposed standard. Each member country may identify experts to be on the working group. Ballot period: 3 months.
  • Committee Draft (CD) - This is the first finished draft of the standard. Comments submitted at this stage have the greatest opportunity of being incorporated. Substantial revisions after this stage are common. Ballot period: 3 months.
  • Draft International Standard (DIS) - At this stage, the standard is considered "ready" by the working group. If significant substantive comments are received or the standard is not approved, the standard may need to be revised and re-balloted again at this same stage. If 100% approval is received and no substantive comments, the standard may proceed directly to publication and skip the next stage. Ballot period: 5 months.
  • Final Draft International Standard (FDIS) - This is the final stage before a standard is published. It generally has only minor changes from the DIS version of the standard. If approved, the standard proceeds to publication. Ballot period: 2 months.

A list of all ISO standards appears in the ISO Standards Catalogue.