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Citing ISO Standards

Posted in Technology on 2006-06-14 22:42

A strange thing I've noticed is that hardly anyone cites the ISO Topic Maps standards correctly in papers. I'm not sure why this is, but I thought I would do my bit to help people get this right.

Getting it wrong

One style of citation that I see really often is this one:

L. M. Garshol and G. Moore. ISO 13250-2: Topic Maps - data model.

There are several problems with this. The first is that it references the editors as though they were the authors. This may be true in the sense that they actually wrote the document, but an ISO standard is always the work of a committee, and citing the editors in this way discounts the work that is done by a large group of people, often over many years.

The second problem is that there is no indication of which version of the document is being referred to. There has been more versions of this particular document since June 2001 than anyone can count, and although the substance has remained the same, it really is good to identify which version is being referred to.

Getting it right

For the TMDM, I would use the following style of citation until it is actually finished and published as an International Standard:

[ISO13250-2]
  ISO/IEC stage 13250-2: Topic Maps — Data Model, YYYY-MM-DD,
  International Organization for Standardization, Geneva, Switzerland.
  http://www.isotopicmaps.org/sam/sam-model/YYYY-MM-DD/

The stage should be the ISO stage of the specification at the time you cite it, which could be FDIS (Final Draft International Standard), FCD (Final Committee Draft), CD (Committee Draft), or WD (Working Draft). This will tell people who know the ISO process at a glance what kind of document you were referring to. (Added 2006-06-23 thanks to Jinie's comments below.)

There are two previous versions of the Topic Maps standards that people may also want to refer to. There is the original standard that specified HyTM, and then a later revised version that corrected a couple of mistakes and included XTM 1.0. I would cite the first one as follows:

[ISO13250]
  ISO/IEC IS 13250:2000: Information Technology —
  Document Description and Processing Languages —
  Topic Maps.
  International Organization for Standardization, Geneva, Switzerland.
  http://www.y12.doe.gov/sgml/sc34/document/0129.pdf

It may seem strange that I put 13250:2000 there when the document says December 1999, but this is because it was 2000 before ISO published it, and so this version is officially known as 13250:2000. The version that has XTM 1.0 in it should be cited as follows:

[ISO13250]
  ISO/IEC 13250:2003: Information Technology —
  Document Description and Processing Languages —
  Topic Maps.
  International Organization for Standardization, Geneva, Switzerland.
  http://www.y12.doe.gov/sgml/sc34/document/0322_files/iso13250-2nd-ed-v2.pdf

Again, this file has a date stamp of 2002 in it, but wasn't published by ISO before 2003.

The Topic Maps Data Model (TMDM) has now been published, and should be cited as follows:

[ISO13250-2]
  ISO/IEC IS 13250-2:2006: Information Technology —
  Document Description and Processing Languages —
  Topic Maps — Data Model.
  International Organization for Standardization, Geneva, Switzerland.
  http://www.isotopicmaps.org/sam/sam-model/

XTM 2.0 should be cited like this:

[ISO13250-3]
  ISO/IEC IS 13250-3:2007: Information Technology —
  Document Description and Processing Languages —
  Topic Maps — XML Syntax.
  International Organization for Standardization, Geneva, Switzerland.
  http://www.isotopicmaps.org/sam/sam-xtm/






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Comments

JInie Min - 2006-06-22 17:34:34

Hi, Lars. I agree with you, but why don't you use/put the word of current stage in ISO process(ex:CD, FCD, FDIS, etc.) like 'ISO/IEC FDIS 13250-2(if we need to sign current date, we can do.)'? Most people who know the ISO use this kind of designation for the specific ISO standard when they want to cite it, of course you know it. *^^* Your way to sign exact current date will be more precise, but we can not know its expected completing-date. Even so, Getting right is important. *^^*

Lars Marius - 2006-06-23 16:34:22

Hi Jinie. I think you are right. I've updated the blog entry to add this now. Thanks for pointing this out! :)

Jinie Min - 2006-06-27 08:22:14

Oh! You updated! Great! I did some good thing to you, Lars. *(^^)* Enjoy your life and make your excellent vacation plan~~~

Konrad Beiske - 2007-11-05 14:58:30

As BibTeX is more or less a defacto standard for organizing references in large documents, I was simply wondering if you could please care to elaborate your examples with respect to how you would do this in BibTeX.

I believe the example at http://www.bibsonomy.org/bibtex/2faa9b8edb36f74fbda19f22b79680039/lysander07 is not according to your preference, but a large number of people using BibTeX use bibsonomy and other similar sites for their getting their references right.

This entry happens to be the first page on google if you search for "citing iso standards" so would be really nice with a BibTeX example as well.

My best guess so far would be something like:

@techreport{tmdm, Author = {ISO/IEC}, Institution = {International Organization for Standardization, Geneva, Switzerland.}, Month = {18. June}, Title = {IS 13250-2:2006: Information Technology --- Document Description and Processing Languages --- Topic Maps --- Data Model.}, Type = {For review}, Year = {2006}}

patrick hoffmann - 2008-04-05 08:31:37

I don't like too much to put it in the format "technical report". In LNCS, this was printed out.

This is what I did (it is not a standard for Maps, but ISO still):

@book{iso_10303-203_1994_part_, 
Author = {ISO{~}10303-203:1994}, 
publisher = {ISO, Geneva, Switzerland},
Title = {Part 203: Application Protocol: Configuration Controlled Design --
Industrial automation systems and integration -- 
Product data representation and exchange}, 
}

The {~} holds "ISO" and "10303-203:1994" together, and is replaced by a space when printed.

Here is how it get printed (LNCS format):
ISO 10303-203:1994: Part 203: Application Protocol: Configuration Controlled Design - Industrial automation systems and integration - Product data representation and exchange. ISO, Geneva, Switzerland

Marc A. Le Pape - 2009-02-16 17:49:32

Thank you very much Lars and Patrick for very useful information. Much appreciated.

Christine - 2009-04-20 04:55:22

Hi,

I'm not sure if I understood all this right... So please excuse if this is a stupid question.

I would like to know how to do an in-text citation of the ISO (I'm not using BibTex keys). Would I simply put e.g. "ISO/IEC IS 13250-2:2006" or is it better (because shorter) to put "ISO 13250-2:2006"?

Thanks for your help!

Lars Marius - 2009-04-23 09:24:25

@Christine: I think you should use the shorter form. The "IS", at least, is superfluous, because only an International Standard would have a year at the end.

Anon - 2009-09-07 11:52:17

I was trying to find the correct way to cite the ECMA Eiffel standard http://www.ecma-international.org/publications/files/ECMA-ST/ECMA-367.pdf . I came across http://liinwww.ira.uka.de/bibliography/Misc/ecmastd.html which seems to be bibtex for all the ECMA standards up until 2006. Based on that my reference looks like:

@BOOK{ecma2006ead,
  title = {{ECMA-367}: {Eiffel} analysis, design and programming language},
  publisher = {ECMA (European Association for Standardizing Information and Communication
	Systems)},
  year = {2006},
  author = {{ECMA}},
  address = {Geneva, Switzerland},
  month = {June},
  note = {2006},
  url = {http://www.ecma-international.org/publications/files/ECMA-ST/ECMA-367.pdf}
}

Perhaps this list will be useful to someone else who stumbles across your page using the search ISO/ECMA standard bibtex...

Angel Tsankov - 2010-04-27 05:33:40

Maybe we should cite ISO/IEC international standards the way ISO themselves do it -- after all, they should know best how to cite their own standards! Looking at the top of the following technical corrigendum's title page, one may conclude that we should precede the reference number (ISO/IEC ...) with "International Standard" giving something like "International Standard ISO/IEC 13250:2000": http://standards.iso.org/ittf/PubliclyAvailableStandards/c035952_ISO_IEC_9899_1999_Cor_1_2001(E).pdf

Waldir - 2010-10-23 12:19:16

I wonder if their own citation standard includes specifications on how to cite their standards :) (or international standards in general)

JennaH - 2012-08-28 06:47:19

I found this thread very informative. I have a related question and hope you can help. Does ISO advocate a referencing style that is accepted internationally? I have found numerous manuals: APA etc., but I wonder if ISO has a standpoint here? Any advice would be hugely appreciated. Jenna

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