NISO to Manage U.S. Group Dedicated to Document Description and Processing Languages

The National Information Standards Organization (NISO) has been accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) to take over management of the U.S. Technical Advisory Group for the ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 34 - Document description and processing languages. This international technical committee is concerned with standardization in the field of document structures, languages, and related facilities for the description and processing of compound and hypermedia documents. The portfolio includes standards for document structures, structures for interactive documents in web environments, document processing architectures, multilingual font information interchange, and APIs for document processing. The accreditation also means that the United States will once again be a voting member of ISO/IEC/JTC 1/SC 34 after a lapse of some months.

NISO’s membership voted this past fall in favor of adding the JTC 1/SC 34 portfolio to its roster of international standards activities. NISO has managed the U.S. Technical Advisory Group (TAG) for ISO/TC46 - Information and documentation and its six subcommittees since the technical committee was formed in the 1940s. NISO also serves as the Secretariat for ISO/TC 46/SC 9 - Identification and description, supporting the international work on identifiers and metadata it undertakes, so that the new work is an ideal complement to an already robust set of responsibilities.

“SC 34’s standards provide important foundational structures for the software, publishing, and media communities and are therefore a natural fit for us,” comments NISO Executive Director Todd Carpenter. “Our work has long involved standards related to document creation, formatting, description, and preservation, so our community is well poised to enrich SC 34’s efforts worldwide. The NISO Board of Directors also felt that a lack of a U.S. voice in SC 34’s decisions was a troublesome gap in worldwide standards leadership.”

The ISO/IEC Joint Technical Committee 1, Subcommittee 34 described in its 2017 business plan the value of its work: “Document file formats and document processing languages continue to play a vital role in the evolving global market for digital information products of all kinds. While many of the base technologies, such as XML, are mature, new applications continue to emerge that demand innovation in the integration of existing and new technologies.” JTC 1/SC 34 includes among its 80 standards those relating to SGML, EPUB, Office Open XML (OOXML), OpenDocument Format, Font information interchange, and Document Schema Definition Languages (DSDL). See a full list of the Technical Committee’s standards at

About NISO

NISO, based in Baltimore, Maryland, fosters the development and maintenance of standards that facilitate the creation, persistent management, and effective interchange of information so that it can be trusted for use in research and learning. To fulfill this mission, NISO engages libraries, publishers, information aggregators, and other organizations that support learning, research, and scholarship through the creation, organization, management, and curation of knowledge. NISO works with intersecting communities of interest and across the entire lifecycle of information standards. NISO is a not-for-profit association accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). For more information, visit the NISO website.


Todd Carpenter

Executive Director
Todd Carpenter joined NISO as Executive Director in September 2006. ...