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Communications of the ACM

USA participation in an international standard glossary on information processing


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A considerable number of glossaries in the area of information processing have been produced in the USA in the last ten years [1, 2]. In some cases the glossaries were reworked versions of earlier glossaries, while in other cases major new contributions were made. All told, the glossary effort has cost thousands of man-hours of work. Several years ago the ASA X3 sectional committee sponsored by BEMA was established to prepare standards for the USA in the information processing field. (See Appendix 1 for the meaning of abbreviations and acronyms. See also [3].) ASA X3.5 was assigned the double scope of advising the other X3.n subcommittees on the establishment of definitions required for their proposed standards and of establishing a standard glossary, pASGIP, for general use. At the same time there was important British standardization activity. After reworking a number of earlier drafts, the BSI released the “Glossary of Terms Used in Automatic Data Processing,” British Standard 3527: 1962. The British effort differed in at least one very important respect from the USA glossaries. It was organized along subject rather than alphabetical lines. This was to have important consequences, as we shall see.

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