The term "agency" in ISO 639

John Cowan cowan at
Fri May 30 00:43:46 CEST 2003

The ISO 639 website says that to qualify for an ISO 639-2 code an
"agency" must hold 50 documents in the language, or up to five agencies
must hold 50 documents between them.  The term "agency" does not
seem to be defined.

Can someone please either point me to a definition or give an informal
explanation of the term?  In particular, can an NGO be an "agency"?

John Cowan   jcowan at
Most languages are dramatically underdescribed, and at least one is 
dramatically overdescribed.  Still other languages are simultaneously 
overdescribed and underdescribed.  Welsh pertains to the third category.
        --Alan King

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