Re: ISO 2955

From: Jukka K. Korpela <>
Date: Fri, 05 Jul 2013 20:41:17 +0300

2013-07-05 17:01, Dreiheller, Albrecht wrote:

> A topic that is different but related to the current discussion "writing
> in an alphabet with fewer letters: letter replacements"
> is the question about writing units with limited character sets.
> This is not a somehow academical question but a real existing problem in
> some situations.

It is, even though many Unicode-minded people would like it to be
definitely water under the bridge. But the problem is less common than
many other people think. In most cases, it is a matter of not knowing
how to type the correct characters. There are many tools for the
purpose, but no really universal way, so people need to learn specific
methods, which may vary by situation.

It’s usually not the character repertoire that is limited but people’s
ability to type characters.

> You might remember there was a standard named
> ISO 2955-1983 "Information processing -- Representaion of SI and other
> units in systems with limited character sets".

It seems to be now freely available at
Whether that’s legal or not is fairly irrelevant in practice, as the
standard has historical relevance only.

> However it was withdrawn in 2001.
> Does anybody know whether there is a successor standard?

There isn’t.

> If not, does someone know the reason?

It was not useful. In the rare cases where the repertoire is really
limited, people will use some ad hoc notations and hopefully explain
them, or avoid the problem. In text, you can simply write “micrometers”
if you cannot type “µm”. A standard on such a marginal issue might be
seen even as misleading: it might make people think that the specific
notations there are widely known and understood. They aren’t. So if you
need to use some notations due to lack of some special characters, it is
better that you realize that there is no generally known method to do
so, and you realize that you need to explain your notations.

Received on Fri Jul 05 2013 - 12:45:46 CDT

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