The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is a worldwide federation of national standards bodies from some 140 countries, one from each country.
ISO is a non-governmental organization established in 1947. The mission of ISO is to promote the development of standardization and related activities in the world with a view to facilitating the international exchange of goods and services, and to developing cooperation in the spheres of intellectual, scientific, technological and economic activity.
ISOâ€™s work results in international agreements, which are published as International Standards.
Many people will have noticed a seeming lack of correspondence between the official title when used in the full form, International Organization for Standardization, and the short form, ISO. Shouldnâ€™t the acronym be â€œIOSâ€? Yes, if it were an acronym-, which it is not.
In fact, â€œISOâ€ is a word, derived from the Greek isos, meaning â€œequalâ€, which is the root of the prefix â€œiso-â€ that occurs in a host of terms, such as â€˜isometricâ€™ (of equal measure or dimensions) and â€˜isonomyâ€™ (equality of laws, or of people before the law).
From â€œequalâ€ to â€œstandardâ€, the line of thinking that led to the choice of â€œISOâ€ as the name of the organization is easy to follow. In addition, the name ISO is used around the world to denote the organization, thus avoiding the plethora of acronyms resulting from the translation of â€œInternational Organization for Standardizationâ€ into the different national languages of members, e.g., IOS in English, OIN in French (from Organisation internationale de normalisation). Whatever the country, the short form of the Organizationâ€™s name is always ISO.