ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 2/WG 3 N ____
ORGANISATION INTERNATIONALE DE NORMALISATION
INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATION FOR STANDARDIZATION
COMMISSION ÉLECTROTECHNIQUE INTERNATIONALE
INTERNATIONAL ELECTROTECHNICAL COMMISSION
Title: New Work Item Proposal for a new part of ISO/IEC 8859covering the
EURO symbol, integral French and potentially some other
Project: To be determined by JTC1
Source: Association française de normalisation (AFNOR)and Conseil canadien des normes
Action: For approval by SC2/WG3, SC2 and for forwarding toJTC1
New work item Proposal: Latin Alphabet Number ZERO
[Alphabet latin numéro ZÉRO]
Source: Association française de normalisation andConseil canadien des normes
Distribution: SC2/WG3 and SC2
Action required: For SC2/WG3 and SC2 approval and forwarding toJTC1 for ballot
Status: New proposal
NP (New work item Proposal) in FORM 3 format of PROCEDURES
1 Title of Project.
Latin Alphabet Number ZERO
[Alphabet latin numéro ZÉRO]
2 Scope (and field of application)
This project will define a new part of ISO/IEC 8859 (if modifyingLatin-1 itself is not acceptable) to cover urgent needs regardingthe introduction of the EURO symbol as the common currency ofmany European countries. This table will also correct the situationthat was recognized by SC2 to the effect that currentlyno part of ISO/IEC 8859 fully covers French, one of the threeofficial languages of ISO. There is initially provision to coversome six other characters that would be considered adequate forother European languages using the latin alphabet.
3 Purpose and Justification
The first goal of this new standard is to introduce, using standardISO/IEC 8859 8-bit coded character set technology, the symbolEURO that is going to be needed at the latest on July 1st 1998to be ready for the implementation of the EURO currency for the1st of January 1999.
While international banking transactions are using standardizedthree-letter codes to represent currency, billing and accountingpresentation applications will have to use a single recognizablesymbol using minimum space in data processing fields, screen patternsand so on, to minimally disrupt existing applications that willhave to change national currencies for the new currency (somecountries use only one single character to represent their nationalcurrency and the use of the letter E could be highly misleading[a case in point: if Portugal was ever to join the currency union,the notation 1$25 to represent 1,25 ESCUDO would have, in ordernot to disrupt existing programs, to be changed to a similar notationin the form of 1E25, which is exactly the notation used in thecomputing industry to represent 1×10 to the 25th power]).
Now the European Union defined a new symbol for the EURO. Consideringthese urgent needs and the fact that 8-bit character technologyis still in existence and won't be replaced overnight by multiple-octet-coded-character-settechnology, the adoption of this proposed standard should be expedited.
By the same occasion, this standard will correct the historicalfact recognized by SC2 that no part of ISO/IEC 8859 currentlysupports the French language fully, which means that to edit ISOstandards, it is not possible to use standard 8-bit technologyto correctly write French and private standards have to be used,with the exchange problems it represents. The 3 characters missingin Latin 1 to support French fully are " ", " " and " ". Furthermore these charactersare not transferable currently by using normal code conversionbetween personal computers, for example, and mainframesmade by different manufacturers using the industry standard EBCDIC(country-extended-code-pages) as defined by IBM, even if someplatforms support these characters in closed-circuit. The exchangeof such characters is currently problematic on the Internet too.
In order to maintain maximum compatibility with the existing world,a maximum number of Latin 1 elements should be used as the modelfor this new table (the most used table to currently support Frenchpartly). The following characters have been identified as havingno or very little use in Latin 1:
10/04 CURRENCY SIGN
10/08 DIAERESIS (standalone, spacing character)
11/04 ACUTE ACCENT (standalone, spacing character)
11/08 CEDILLA (standalone, spacing character)
These four characters should be replaced, in order, by
10/04 EURO SIGN (SYMBOLE EURO)
10/08 LATIN CAPITAL LETTER Y WITH DIAERESIS (LETTRE MAJUSCULELATINE Y TRÉMA)
11/04 LATIN SMALL LIGATURE OE (DIGRAMME SOUDÉ MINUSCULELATIN O E)
11/08 LATIN CAPITAL LIGATURE OE (DIGRAMME SOUDÉ MAJUSCULELATIN O E)
Six other characters have been identified as being not absolutelyessential to the languages currently covered by Latin 1. Thesecharacters could be changed for some other characters to covera maximum of languages in this new Latin alphabet, at the conditionthat consensus can be obtained during the NP ballot stage on which6 characters could be covered without harming existing languagepractices. Turkish has been considered by the proposers but itwas considered that it would potentially do more harm to Turkishcurrent practice while UCS implementation is not that far away.Welsh (which requires four characters more than Latin 1) is alsoa good candidate. If a language had exactly 6 characters to becompletely covered by this proposal and that this language werealso a language spoken in a country within the imminent monetaryunion, that would be ideal. But controversy should be avoidedas far as possible, and if this occurred, it would be better tolimit the proposal to the change in Latin 1 for the four initialcharacters above.
The six current extra characters identified as not absolutelyessential to cover usual requirements of countries using Latin1 are :
10/06 BROKEN BAR
11/02 PLUS OR MINUS SIGN
11/12 VULGAR FRACTION ONE QUARTER
11/13 VULGAR FRACTION ONE HALF
11/14 VULGAR FRACTION THREE QUARTERS
10/02 CENT SIGN
Few of these characters can be typed on national keyboard layoutsand if they can they do not fulfill complete requirements forthe purpose that they were meant to deserve (vulgar fractionsare insufficient for stock exchange purposes; cent sign does notexist on American keyboards where it is almost the only placein the world where it could be used; broken bar is often misleadingas in operating system environments which document this symbolthe code allocated to the vertical bar [and of which the brokenbar is a presentation variant on American keyboards] is used instead, making the 8-bit character inoperant; the plus or minus signis really insufficient for mathematical usage).
For all (or most) other characters full compatibility shall bemaintained with Latin 1, which means in practice that even ifsupport for this new table is not implemented everywhere, mosttexts will be readable without much problem, and that the internatioanlcurrency symbol could be temporarily recognized as a EURO signuntil presentation is corrected. For French characters, correctionis more a matter of fonts than one of conversion tables and itis also a matter of slight adaptation of locale data (case conversionin particular and case-independent searching mainly). Conversionimpact is minimal.
4 Programme of work
A singlepart international standard is expected to be developedfor this project. The template used for making Latin 1 (whichwas just revised) should be used and fast-tracked with the above-mentionedchanges which are minimum..
5 Relevant documents to be considered
ISO/IEC 8859 -1 Template. Minimal change required.
6 Cooperation and liaison
Cooperation with SC2/WG2 is required. Addition of the EURO sign(as proposed by Canada) in the UCS should be coordinated withthis project.
7 Preparatory work offered and target dates
Latin 1 is already existing as the template. Minimal change isrequired. A French version of this standard project is also requiredand should be balloted at the same time as the English versionusing fast-track processing. Ideally, if that were acceptable,replacement of Latin 1 itself would be desirable.
Target dates proposed:
NP to be recommended for JTC1 ballot at the 1997 SC2 Plenary.
NP Ballot and concurrent DIS ballot (fast-track) to be sent atthe latest in December 1997 so that an IS be available by July1, 1998 (business case deadline).
Alain LaBonté is being proposed as the project editor.
8 References to External Authorities
For this particular project, no registration authority is foreseen.
The proposed standard does not concern known patented items.