Re: Standardization of multimedia -- basic issues

James D Mason (
Fri, 31 Mar 95 12:08:00 EST

A bit of clarification about who's doing what in standards is probably in
order, though there's always the danger of drowning in alphabet soup. ANSI
X3V1 is the U.S. contributor to IS0/IEC JTC1/SC18, of which my group,
SC18/WG8, is a component. SC18 is parallel to Roger's parent committee,
ISO/IEC JTC1/SC29, and Roger's group, SC29/WG12 is at the same level as mine.

SMSL (that name may not last) is a WG8 project. X3V1 is working on it as a
contribution to my committee. SMSL was originally designed to be one side of a
project shared with Roger's group. SC19/WG8 was to write a functional
specification, SC29/WG12 to do any encoding (i.e., control code extensions)
necessary to implement it. This division of labor was arrived at as a
political, only slightly technical, compromise to keep harmony in JTC1 at a
time when lots of people were fighting over a slice of the
multimedia/hypermedia pie. I think that warfare has largely died down.

Since then it has become evident that Roger's group and mine are trying to
meet different sets of user requirements. We have some joint membership, and
we exchange technical papers. But we will produce different sorts of things.
BTW, I don't think SMSL will produce any *new* language. It's more likely to
assemble new applications of existing techniques. If anyone wants to
communicate with the editor, Brian Markey, he is


Dr. James D. Mason
(ISO/IEC JTC1/SC18/WG8 Convenor)
Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Information Management Services
Bldg. 2506, M.S. 6302, P.O. Box 2008
Oak Ridge, TN 37831-6302 U.S.A.
Telephone: +1 615 574-6973
Facsimile: + 1 615 574-6983
Network: masonjd @