Correction (was: Re: Liaison)
dewell at adelphia.net
Mon Apr 3 08:52:45 CEST 2006
On Saturday, April 1, 2006 22:58 PST, I wrote:
> Remember that every code element ever assigned to a country since
> 1974 is either assigned or reserved today, and there are still 345
> that have never been used.
I did some further checking, and found that this is not true. Although
many of the withdrawn code elements from ISO 3166-1 have been moved to
one of the "reserved" categories, there are 15 that were simply put back
into the "unassigned" pool to be reused.
These code elements, together with the year they were withdrawn, are:
BQ British Antarctic Territory (1979)
CT Canton and Enderbury Islands (1984)
DD German Democratic Republic (1990)
FQ French Southern and Antarctic Territories (1979)
HV Upper Volta, Republic of (1984)
JT Johnston Island (1986)
MI Midway Islands (1986)
NH New Hebrides (1980)
NQ Dronning Maud Land (1983)
PC Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands (1986)
PU U.S. Miscellaneous Pacific Islands (1986)
PZ Panama Canal Zone (1980)
VD Viet Nam, Democratic Republic of (1977)
WK Wake Island (1986)
YD Yemen, People's Democratic Republic of (1990)
Even though my earlier statement, that 345 of the possible 676 ISO
3166-1 alpha-2 code elements are unassigned, is still correct, it is not
true that every code element assigned since 1974 is either assigned or
reserved. It might be wise to think of these 15 code elements as also
being "off limits" for future assignment.
Indeed, the Language Subtag Registry includes DD and YD as (deprecated)
region subtags, since they were withdrawn by ISO 3166/MA after 1988, the
date of the ISO 3166 standard referenced in RFC 1766.
Therefore, it would be more correct to say that only 330, not 345, of
the possible 676 code elements are available for use. This is still
more than 48 percent of the total, and IMHO it does not detract from the
point that alpha-2 country code elements are not in short supply, and
need not be recycled, unless the need to provide mnemonic codes
outweighs the desire to avoid recycling.
I would suggest that ISO 3166/MA should consider moving these 15 code
elements into one of the "reserved" categories, probably "transitionally
reserved," and will probably write to the MA requesting this.
Fullerton, California, USA
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