As described by ISO, "the purpose of ISO 3166 is to define internationally recognized codes of letters and/or numbers that we can use when we refer to countries and subdivisions. Using codes saves time and avoids errors as instead of using a country's name (which will change depending on the language being used) we can use a combination of letters and/or numbers that are understood all over the world." These codes are used in many various applications, including country top-level domains.
This conversation, recorded on September 9, 2019, was between Nettie Lagace, Associate Executive Director of NISO, and Kate Dolan, the Convenor of ISO TC 46 WG 2, the ISO working group responsible for the standard. The two discussed what's included in ISO 3166, how it is maintained and revised at an international level, and how the US representatives interact with other countries in this work.
Download the audio and learn more!