History of JTC1


This document is written in the form of a diary. It is intended to record important events in the creation and functioning of ISO/IEC JTC 1. It includes a summary description of each of the Subcommittees of ISO/IEC JTC 1, regardless of whether they are still in operation.
Guidelines are available to JTC 1 entities for producing history material (JTC1 N10793).

Document Structure and Contents

The main body of this document focuses on ISO/IEC JTC 1 itself. However, JTC 1 is the sum of its parts, therefore, as mentioned above, the document includes a summary description of each of JTC 1 Subcommittee (SC), detailed descriptions of their activities are left to the individual SCs themselves. JTC 1 has also formed and disbanded many Ad Hoc groups to perform specific tasks on behalf of JTC 1. These include Special Working Groups (SWG), Study Groups (SG), Working Groups (WG), Rapporteur Groups (RG), and Ad Hoc groups.
JTC 1 Working Groups
JTC 1 Special Working Groups

ISO/IEC Joint Technical Committee 1 Information

Technology – History

Prior to the Creation of ISO/IEC JTC 1: ISO Technical Committee 97

ISO Technical Committee 97,TC 97, was created in 1960 partly in response to the proposed creation in the United States of Accredited Standards Committee X3 (now known as INCITS), which was formed to standardize ―computers and information processing. The Secretariat of the TC 97 committee was offered to ANSI, which accepted. The committee’s charter was written — and expanded — so that TC 97 dealt with computers, peripherals, and computer systems. Slightly earlier in the same year, TC 95 had been formed to deal with ―Office Machines, which were still relatively distinct from computers at the time- or at least there was a perceived difference.

By 1981, however, this distinction had blurred, and TC 95, which had accomplished a majority of what it had been chartered to do in 1961, was merged into TC 97. In 1983, further integration occurred when two of the TC 97 Sub-Committees (SC 8, Numerical Control of Machines, and SC 9, Programming Languages for Numerical Control) were spun off to create a new ISO Technical Committee – TC 184, Industrial Automation Systems.

In 1984, TC 97 was reorganized to make it more responsive to the needs of the information technology industry. The scope of the committee was changed to read ―Standardization, including terminology, in the field of information processing systems including, but not limited to, personal computers and office equipment. The various committees in TC 97 were modified, and an effort was made to compartmentalize (or at least group) like activities through the creation of three Vice-Chairpersons — each of who was responsible for coordinating the activities of a group of SC’s with similar interests.

The three groups were:

  • Application Elements, composed of SC 1, SC 7, SC 14 and SC 22,
  • Equipment and Media: SC 10, SC 11, SC 13, SC 15, SC 17, SC 19, and SC 23
  • Systems: SC 2, SC 6, SC 18, SC 20, and SC 21

As this reorganization was taking place, there was a shift in the internal make up of the SCs, with the phasing out of SC 16 (Open Systems Interconnection), SC 5 (Programming Languages), and SC 12 (Instrumentation Magnetic Tape) and the creation of SC 21 (Information Retrieval, Transfer, and Management for Open Systems Interconnection), SC 22 (Application Systems Environments and Programming Languages), and SC 23 (Optical Digital Data Disks).

The formation of ISO/IEC JTC 1 Joint Technical Committee 1 (JTC 1) was created in 1987 as a technical committee of both the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), ISO/IEC JTC 1. It was the first joint technical committee of both organizations and was created in order to avoid duplication of effort in standards development by both organizations and to ensure interoperability of standards related to Information technology created by technical committees of either organization.

JTC 1 was formed as a merger between ISO/TC 97 and IEC/TC 83, with IEC/SC 47B joining later, with the intent to bring together in a single Committee the then Information Technology standardization activities of the two parent organizations. At that time, the most ambitious Information and Communications Technology (ICT) standardization effort on Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) was underway which enjoyed significant support from major market players (governments, major customers and computer systems manufacturers).

In large part the mandate of JTC 1 was to develop “base standards” in the information technology domain upon which other technical committees could build in order to develop domain and application specific standards that were applicable to specific business domain such as Banking or Transportation, but which would still be able to inter-operate and function on a consistent base.
As JTC 1 is a “child” of both ISO and IEC, it is required to function under the directives and procedures of both organizations. As those directives and procedures are not the same and do not use the same philosophies and foundations, this requirement can, at times, make things more difficult for JTC 1. However, an initiative is underway in both ISO and IEC to harmonize as much as possible their directives and procedures. This has resulted in a harmonized set of ISO/IEC Directives, as well as an ISO Supplement and an IEC Supplement JTC 1 has its own Directives and is working to harmonize them as much as possible with the ISO/IEC Directives. The JTC 1 Directives are much more descriptive than either the ISO or IEC Directives and were developed in this manner to facilitate faster product development cycles. The JTC 1 Directives have now been replaced by the ISO/IEC Directives and a JTC 1 Supplement to the directives and a set of Standing Documents.

Since the formation of JTC 1, major changes have occurred in the information technology and communications market places. There has been a convergence of these two technology areas and they are now more often referred to as Information and Communications Technology (ICT). Other changes in the market place include:

  • Governments have changed their views on the purposes of ICT standardization and the role of ICT standards in procurement;
  • Major customer have changed their methods of systems development and specification;
  • Market conditions have changed due to compressed product life cycles;
  • Technology capabilities continue to evolve; technology becomes increasingly complex;
  • Technologies converge;
  • Customers want integrated solutions that are interoperable;
  • The computer systems companies have evolved radically and been supplemented by the independent PC hardware manufacturers (the so called box manufacturers) and joined by a group of major software companies;
  • Open Source software has established a significant presence in the ICT marketplace;
  • Globalization is here to stay.

The open global market, deregulation and ubiquitous Internet assure its continuation. Globalization will spur the development of means to deal with a diverse world, such as automated translation.
Simultaneous with this overall change of the ICT industry and certainly not unrelated with it, changes also occurred in the ICT standardization domain. As a consequence of the restructuring of ICT (and other) companies in the late 80s and early 90s, drastic reductions took place in corporate standards units within many companies as part of the movement of profit and loss responsibility to discrete units in the companies. Such corporate standards units had generally coordinated and facilitated participation by their company’s experts in formal standardization activities.
Virtually simultaneously with this development, the Internet and World Wide Web took off, essentially banishing to the history books the work that JTC 1 and ITU had been doing on Open Systems Interconnection, leaving just a few useful remnants applicable to the Internet environment.

Then in the early 1990s, stimulated by a change in US antitrust law, industry consortia started to emerge as fora for addressing particular standardization issues within the ICT industry. This trend has increased ever since, and estimates exist that currently in the order of 600 consortia / fora exist each addressing particular standardization needs in different corners of the ICT field.
Product life cycles are becoming briefer and related standards are needed much earlier than before. Technology capabilities continue to evolve and address the increasingly complex customer environment. As complexity increases and resources vary, e.g. today are decreasing, JTC 1 must consider ICT problems from a customer’s standpoint. It is therefore becoming important to allow JTC 1 customers to refocus on the essential, e.g., integration tools and critical interfaces.

In the past, JTC 1 has brought about a number of very successful and relevant ICT standards in the fields of multimedia (in particular, MPEG), IC cards (“smart cards”), ICT security, database query and programming languages as well as character sets, to name just a few.
The advent of the information age poses a new challenge to JTC 1: Computing is now ubiquitous in industrialized society. It is also a key enabler in many fields of science; to the point that some author wrote that “All science is computer science”. ICT spreads into virtually all spheres of life, including different cultural and social environments, and economy.
Traditional boundaries between providers no longer dominate the ICT Environment. Many providers operate in multiple countries and have to provide products whose properties vary by nationality, culture and legal setting, as demanded by customers. Convergence, Globalization and cultural and linguistic adaptability are ways to refer to this challenge.
The ever changing environment within which JTC 1 operates demands continuous adaptations. JTC 1 must react and demonstrate its ongoing relevance, but also recognize that there is room both for consortia and formal standardization, such as JTC 1.

JTC 1, in its continuing efforts to establish and maintain itself as the global center for international ICT standardization, has already undertaken major steps to address this changing environment, such as:

  • Streamlining its rules and working methodologies in order to reduce overall standardization time from an average 58 months in 1990 to 34 months in 2001;
  • Over the past few years, JTC 1 Strategic Planning activities have spawned 5 process improvements;
  • Improving co-operation with consortia/fora by opening new paths for their contributions to be recognized as International ICT Standards;
  • Through house-keeping and re-engineering efforts;
  • Focusing on those standardization projects which bear the highest market relevance.
  • In sum, JTC 1 is faced with the following challenges:
  • Improve its market relevance as a key provider of leading basic technology standards;
  • Establish itself as a strong partner for other ICT standards developing organizations, including consortia/fora, to jointly develop standards of a cross-sectoral nature;
  • Establish new working methodologies to meet the needs of the market and its constituency.

Statistics :
In 1996, JTC 1 had 25 P-Members and 12 O-Members, and 16 SCs.
In 2010, JTC 1 had 36 P-Members and 52 O-Members, and 18 SCs
In 2015, JTC 1 had 34 P-Members and 59 O-Members, and 20 SCs
In 2016, JTC 1 had 33 P-Members and 62 O-Members, and 21 SCs
In 2017, JTC 1 had 34 P-Members and 63 O-Members, and 22 SCs


ISO TC 97 and/orISO/IEC JTC I Subcommittee Title Status Noteworthy or Illustrative Standards
SC 1 Vocabulary Disbanded at the Rio de Janeiro 1999 JTC 1 Plenary.

Projects assigned to each applicable SC.

SC 2 Coded character sets Active ISO 646:1972Information technology — ISO 7-bit coded character set for information interchange

ISO/IEC 10646-1:1993Information technology — Universal Multiple-Octet Coded Character Set (UCS) — Part 1: Architecture and Basic Multilingual Plane

SC 3 Optical character and mark recognition Disbanded.

Projects assigned to SC 29

ISO 1073-1:1976,Alphanumeric character sets for optical recognition — Part 1: Character set OCR-A — Shapes and dimensions of the printed imageISO 1073-2:1976,Alphanumeric character sets for optical recognition — Part 2: Character set OCR-B — Shapes and dimensions of the printed image
SC 4 Physical Interfaces (to be checked)
SC 5 programming languages Disbanded.

Projects assigned to SC 22

ISO 1989-1970 Information processing — Programming languages — COBOL
SC 6 Telecommunications and information exchange between systems Active
SC 7 Software and systems engineering Active
SC 8 Numerical control of machines Disbanded.

Merged in 1983 into the newly established  ISO TC 184 (Automation systems and integration)

SC 9 Programming languages for numerical control Disbanded.

Merged in 1983 into the newly established  ISO TC 184 (Automation systems and integration)

SC 10 Magnetic disks Disbanded.

Projects assigned to SC 23

Removable magnetic disk packsISO 3561:1976Information processing — Interchangeable magnetic six-disk pack — Track format

ISO 5653:1980Information processing — Interchangeable magnetic twelve-disk pack (200 Mbytes)

SC 11 Flexible magnetic media for digital data interchange Disbanded.

Projects assigned to SC 23

Open reel magnetic tapes; magnetic tape cassettes and cartridges; and magnetic flexible disk cartridgesISO 1861:1975Information processing — 7- track, 12,7 mm (0.5 in) wide magnetic tape for information interchange recorded at 8 rpmm (200 rpi)

ISO 5654-1:1982Information processing — Data interchange on 200 mm (8 in) flexible disk cartridges using two-frequency recording at 13 262 ftprad on one side — Part 1: Dimensional, physical and magnetic characteristics

ISO 5652:1983,Information processing — 9-Track, 12,7 mm (0.5 in) wide magnetic tape for information interchange — Format and recording, using group coding at 264 cpmm (6 250 cpi)

ISO 9661:1988Information processing — Data interchange on 12,7 mm (0.5 in) magnetic tape cartridges — 18 tracks, 1 491 data bytes per millimeter (37 871 data bytes per inch)

Disbanded at the 2003 Singapore JTC 1 plenary

SC 12 Instrumentation magnetic tape Disbanded.

Projects assigned to SC 23

ISO 1859-1973,Information processing — Unrecorded magnetic tapes for interchange instrumentation applications –General dimensional requirements

ISO 1860:1978,Information processing — Precision reels for magnetic tape used in interchange instrumentation applications

SC 13 Interconnection of equipment Disbanded.

Projects assigned to SC25

TC 97/SC 13 and IEC SC 83 were merged into SC 25 per Resolution 12 of the second (Paris ) JTC 1 plenary on June 7, 1989
SC 14 Data elements Disbanded.

Projects assigned to SC 32

ISO/IEC 11179-3:1994Information technology – Specificationand standardization of data elements – Part 3: Basic attributes of data elements

Disbanded at the 1997 Ottawa JTC 1 Plenary

SC 15 Labeling and file structures Disbanded.

Projects assigned to SC 23

ISO 1001: 1979Information processing — Magnetic tape labeling and file structure for information interchange

ISO 7665: 1983Information processing — File structure and labeling of flexible disk cartridges for information interchange

Dissolved per Resolution 17 of the Paris JTC 1 Plenary (1989)

SC 16 Upper layers of OSI Disbanded.

Projects assigned to SC 21

ISO 7498: 1984Information processing systems — Open Systems Interconnection — Basic Reference Model
SC 17 Cards and personal identification Active
SC 18 Text and office systems Disbanded.

Projects assigned to SC 34

ISO 8879:1986Information processing — Text and office systems — Standard Generalized Markup Language (SGML)

ISO/IEC ISP 12064-1:1995Information technology. International standardized profile FOD112. Open document format: image applications. Simple document structure. Raster graphics content architecture. Document application profile (DAP)

Disbanded at the 1997 Ottawa JTC 1 Plenary

SC 19  
SC 20 Cryptographic Techniques Disbanded.

Projects assigned to SC 27.

SC 21 Upper layers of OSI Disbanded.

Projects assigned to multiple SCs (including SC32, SC33)

Disbanded at the 1997 Ottawa JTC 1 Plenary
SC 22 Programming languages, their environments and system software interfaces Active ISO/IEC 9945-1:1990Information technology — Portable Operating System Interface (POSIX) — Part 1: System Application Program Interface (API) [C Language]

ISO/IEC 9945-2:1993, Information technology — Portable Operating System Interface (POSIX) — Part 2: Shell and Utilities

SC 23 Digitally Recorded Media for Information Interchange and Storage Active
SC 24 Computer graphics, image processing and environmental data representation Active
SC 25 Interconnection of information technology equipment Active
SC 26 Microprocessor Systems Disbanded.

Projects assigned to SC 25

Disbanded at the Rio de Janeiro 1999 JTC 1 Plenary
SC 27 IT Security techniques Active
SC 28 Office equipment Active
SC 29 Coding of audio, picture, multimedia and hypermedia information Active

Established in 1991 by moving the multimedia coding projects from SC 2.

ISO/IEC 10918-1:1994Information technology — Digital compression and coding of continuous-tone still images: Requirements and guidelines

ISO/IEC 11172:1993Information technology — Coding of moving pictures and associated audio for digital storage media at up to about 1,5 Mbit/s — Parts 1-3

ISO/IEC 15444-1:2000Information technology — JPEG 2000 image coding system — Part 1: Core coding system

SC 30 Open electronic data interchange Created at the 1994 Washington DC JTC 1 Plenary Disbanded at the 1997 Ottawa JTC 1 Plenary
SC 31 Automatic identification and data capture techniques Active

Established in 1996.

SC 32 Data management and interchange Active

Established in 1997.

SC 33 Distributed Application Services Disbanded.

Projects assigned to SC 7 and SC 6.

Disbanded at the 1998 Sendai JTC 1 Plenary
SC 34 Document description and processing languages Active

Established in 1998.

ISO/IEC 26300:2006Information technology — Open Document Format for Office Applications (OpenDocument) v1.0

ISO/IEC 29500:2008Information technology — Document description and processing languages — Office Open XML File Formats — Parts 1-3

SC 35 User interfaces Active

Established in 1998.

SC 36 Information technology for learning, education and training Active

Established in 1999.

SC 37 Biometrics Active

Established in 2002.

SC 38 Distributed application platforms and services (DAPS) Active

Established in 2009.

SC 39 Sustainability for and by information Technology Active

Established in 2012.

SC 40 IT Service Management and IT Governance Active

Established in 2013.