Re: ISO standards -- Was: extra character entities

Murray Altheim (
Fri, 12 Jul 1996 13:25:48 -0500

Message-Id: <v0211010fae0c3d8a011c@[]>
Date: Fri, 12 Jul 1996 13:25:48 -0500
To: "William F. Hammond" <>
From: (Murray Altheim)
Subject: Re: ISO standards  -- Was:  extra character entities

William F. Hammond <> writes:
>: ISO 10646 contains a large collection of printing characters. Here are
>: some dashes and spaces (from Unicode - ISO does not make their texts
>: available):
>There is a conflict between the purpose of setting standards and the
>practice of price-rationing the distribution of standard-setting
>Standards that are not net-accessible are fading.
>Organizations that want to recover costs but also want to have
>influence should consider two-tiered publication:

Are you actually making a proposal to ISO to change its pricing and
organization? Let's get real. 8879 is only a flea on ISO's elephant, and I
would seriously doubt anyone representing ISO marketing browses www-html.
You didn't send a copy to them, so what's the point of your message?

Besides, a little homework will reveal that all ISO 8879 productions
contain this text, which occurs at the top of each entity catalog:

    <!-- (C) International Organization for Standardization 1986
         Permission to copy in any form is granted for use with
         conforming SGML systems and applications as defined in
         ISO 8879, provided this notice is included in all copies.

Which means you can use any existing ISO entity catalog in a conforming
SGML system (ie., HTML qualifies) so long as the acknowledgement text is

If you're looking for ISO entity sets, they can be found all over the net.
The DocBook directories contain a large number of character entities
covering math, publication symbols and languages. You can find them in
Davenport's DocBook 2.4.1 distribution at

in files:

    dbg241.tar.Z    20-Apr-96 15:20   878K      20-Apr-96 15:21   841K

Or if you just want the entities, I've moved my copies into a directory you
can get to at

Theoretically, a conforming SGML system would use all of the 8879 entity
sets. This isn't the case with HTML currently, but it sure wouldn't be a
bad idea. Only problem would be browser and font support, which is
something W3C is working on currently. The internationalization discussion
takes place on a different listserver (, and is
populated by experts in the field who understand the differences between
Unicode and ISO 10646, how ISO entity sets fit into the picture, etc.

It's not a place for novice comments (I only lurk myself), but if you're
interested in learning about this area of development you can subscribe at


     Murray Altheim, Program Manager
     Spyglass, Inc., Cambridge, Massachusetts
     email: <>
     http:  <>