There exist today a large number of standards and related specifications concerning character repertoires and their coding in the form of official as well as manufacturer standards and intended for a wide range of applications and uses. Furthermore, there are character set standards for data communication and there are standards developed specifically for telecommunications applications. This situation can be very confusing to the non-expert user and to people involved in procurement.
The user of IT systems normally does not have to concern himself with these types of standards. However, there may be situations where he has to be able to express his needs for certain character repertoires necessary for his work. It may also happen that he, when involved in work together with other parties using other systems, needs to be able to interpret other peoples specifications given in the form of reference to standards.
Against this background, CEN/TC 304 in June, 1998, set up a project team with the task of producing a guidance document on the use of character set standards and related specifications in Europe. In the terms of reference it is stated that the guide "is to be useful for procurement purposes and non-technical people". Furthermore, it "shall merge the existing guides ... (the existing CEN Guide, the EPHOS Character Sets module, and the EWOS GOSS character set guide), bringing the information up to date as necessary and adding material on the new 10646/Unicode code structure".
What happens next?