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International Standards

NISO's International Standards Work

NISO standards and recommended practices, like the information community itself, are international. We benefit from global participation in our Working Groups and Standing Committees, and our standards are implemented by organizations from all over the world. Learn more below and watch this video clip about our international standards work.

We also participate in global standards work through the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), a network of the national standards institutes of 157 countries, which develop standards through Technical Committees and their Working Groups. The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) is the official U.S. member. They manage the U.S. role in each Technical Committee by designating a U.S. organization to act as Technical Advisory Group Administrator. The Administrator is responsible for identifying the Advisory Group members, communicating information about the Committee's activities, distributing ballots, and submitting the U.S. vote and comments for all standards developed by the Committee. NISO is the Technical Advisory Group Administrator for the Technical Committee on Information and Documentation, including serving as the Secretariat for Subcommittee 9 on Identification and Description — our Executive Director serves as the SC 9 Secretary.

US-based NISO Voting Members are entitled to vote on ISO (International Organization of Standards) activities relating to Information and Documentation and Information Technology, and appoint members to ISO Technical Working Groups that are developing ISO standards related to these areas (non-members may not participate in ISO activities).

The ISO standards development process is shown below, with balloting of the Technical Committee members at each stage:

  • New Work Item Proposal. Any member may submit a proposal to a Technical Committee for a project to develop a new standard. The proposal may include a working draft, though this is not required. If the proposal is approved, a new working group is established to develop the proposed standard, and each member country may identify experts to join the group. Ballot period: 3 months.

  • Committee Draft. 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. The standard is now considered "ready" by the working group but, if substantive comments are received or the standard is not approved, then it may need to be revised and re-balloted again as a Draft International Standard. If 100% approval is received and no substantive comments, the standard moves straight to publication, skipping the next stage. Ballot period: 5 months.

  • Final Draft International Standard (FDIS). This is the final stage before a standard is published. Typically, it will only include minor changes from the draft version and, if approved, the standard now proceeds to publication. Ballot period: 2 months.

A list of all ISO standards can be found in the ISO Standards Catalogue.

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