International Organization for StandardizationThe International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is an international standard setting body of representatives of national standards bodies, that produces world-wide industrial and commercial standards.
See also standardization.
While the ISO defines itself as an Non-governmental organization, its ability to set standards which often become law through treaties or national standards makes it more powerful than most NGOs, and in practice it acts as a consortium with strong links to governments. Partipants include one standards body from each member country and major corporations.
ISO cooperates closely with the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), which is responsible for standardization of electrical equipment.
The organization is usually reffered to simply as ISO (pronounced eye-so). It is a common misconception that ISO stands for International Standards Organization, or something similar. ISO is not an acronym; it comes from the Greek word isos, meaning equal. In English its name is International Organization for Standardization, while in French it is called Organisation Internationale de Normalisation; to use an acronym would result in different acronyms in English (IOS) and French (OIN), thus the founders of the organization chose ISO as the universal short form of its name.
ISO standards are numbered, and have a format that contains "ISO 99999:yyyy: Title" where "99999" is the standard number, "yyyy" is the year published, and "Title" describes the subject.
See also: List of ISO standards