Doug Ewell doug at
Sun Oct 2 17:38:17 CEST 2011

CE Whitehead <cewcathar at hotmail dot com> wrote:

> Hi, I'm not sure what RFC 5646 regarding ISO 3166 requires here but if
> the change is adopted -- then I support having the short name Libya
> ( followed temporarily with a reference to the former name too if this
> is allowed -- is this what Doug has suggested?).

No, I don't suggest leaving the longer and less intuitive name after ISO has changed away from it, unless failing to do so will cause confusion to users of the Registry.  That is to say, users are unlikely to be lost when they find "Libya" but cannot find "Libyan Arab Jamahiriya".  "Upper Volta" and "Burkina Faso" might be an example where keeping the old name would help, if that change had happened now instead of 27 years ago.

> Secondly:
> "   For subtags taken from a source standard (such as ISO 639 or ISO
>    15924), the 'Description' fields in the record are also initially
>    taken from that source standard."
> I'm not sure what is meant by "initially" here.  If the name changes
> in ISO-3166, are we then at the "initial" stage again, and required to
> take the new name as is?

"Initially" means "when the Registry entry was created," with either RFC 4645 or 5645.

> The main guidelines in any case seem to be in section 3.4:
> 3.4 "Stability of IANA Registry Entries"
> " 3.   . . .  The description MAY be
>       broadened somewhat in scope, changed to add information, or
>       adapted to the most common modern usage.  For example, countries
>       occasionally change their names; a historical example of this is
>       "Upper Volta" changing to "Burkina Faso"."

I think "updated to the most common modern usage" is what we are talking about here, rather than "adding information."

>> I support making this change in the Registry if it shows up in 3166,
>> with the goal of keeping names brief and vernacular,
> Do we have an option of not taking the name in 3166?  (Just curious.)

That's essentially what we did with Bolivia and Venezuela.

>> We might also consider adding the occasional second Description field
>> that matches common use, such as "South Korea" or "Iran," to ease the
>> transition and reduce the potential for controversy the next time
>> this happens.
> This is fine IMO -- if it's allowed.

It's allowed, but we have been been reluctant to do so, because usually it's not needed.  There hasn't been an avalanche of recent name changes of countries that obscure the identity of the country.  In the case of Bolivia and Venezuela, the new name is basically an embellishment of the original name, so keeping the original was uncontroversial.  This issue didn't come up when "East Timor" became "Timor-Leste", probably because of the size and global importance of that country.

Doug Ewell | Thornton, Colorado, USA | RFC 5645, 4645, UTN #14 | | @DougEwell ­
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