Splitting country codes

Doug Ewell dewell at adelphia.net
Sun Apr 2 02:34:52 CEST 2006

Erik van der Poel <erikv at google dot com> wrote:

> It's great that the registry provides stable region codes (unlike ISO 
> 3166). I think some organizations and individuals really welcome this 
> aspect of the registry. It might be a good idea to think of the 
> registry in a broader sense, i.e. not just for language tags, but also 
> for region codes.

If other organizations or individuals want to use the registry for their 
own needs, they are certainly free to do so; it's not as if we can 
prevent them, or need to.  I do think, however, there's a difference 
between that and changing, or tailoring, or customizing the contents of 
the registry to meet non-language-tagging needs.

Remember that ISO 3166 began as a coding system for the names of 
countries, and then the codes were adopted as ccTLDs.  That's great, and 
the MA welcomes this usage, but when individuals and groups started 
petitioning the MA for their own ISO 3166 country code so they could use 
it as a ccTLD, the MA had to stop and say, no, that's not what the 
standard is for.

Maintaining a history of which countries (and thus which country codes) 
here merged and split over the years sounds like something the Common 
Locale Data Repository (CLDR) project might be good at.  It might be 
worthwhile for groups that want to use the registry for a more general 
purpose to consider using CLDR instead.

Doug Ewell
Fullerton, California, USA

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