Unfortunately, these standards do not provide stable codes: the registration authorities for countries and languages in the past did not consider the use of the codes in databases and code, which require that code once codes issued, they should not ever change and should not ever be retired.
One might hope that with the new work on 639 at least, that this situation will improve. However, the phrase "Requests for additions, deletions, and changes of codes shall be supported by a justification" in the procedures document does not sound promising at all.
Herman Ranes wrote:
> It may have been thoroughly discussed earlier in this list (any archive
> links?), but I wonder:
> why did ISO 639 change the codes 'in', 'iw' and 'ji' into 'id', 'he' and
> 'yi' in 1989?
> Michael Everson skreiv:
> > Ar 11:01 -0400 2000-04-24, scríobh Rebecca S. Guenther:
> > >I've put up the change notice for ISO 639. See:
> > >
> > >http://lcweb.loc.gov/standards/iso639-2/codechanges.html
> > >
> > >Thanks to Michael Everson for letting me use his coding.
> > >
> > >Rebecca
> > Michael Everson ** Everson Gunn Teoranta ** http://www.egt.ie
> > 15 Port Chaeimhghein Íochtarach; Baile Átha Cliath 2; Éire/Ireland
> > Vox +353 1 478 2597 ** Fax +353 1 478 2597 ** Mob +353 86 807 9169
> > 27 Páirc an Fhéithlinn; Baile an Bhóthair; Co. Átha Cliath; Éire
> Herman Ranes Høgskolen i Sør-Trøndelag
> Avdeling for teknologi
> Telefon +47 73559606 Institutt for elektroteknikk
> Telefaks +47 73559581
> <email@example.com> N-7004 Trondheim
> http://www.hist.no/~herman/ NOREG
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