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Free Access to ISO Magazines

The standards body pushes its mission to get the word out

Published: Wednesday, June 29, 2011 - 14:03

(ISO: Geneva) -- ISO international standards offer benefits for just about everyone, and what the standards can achieve is becoming an increasingly useful component of general knowledge. ISO is encouraging this evolution by making freely available a rich source of information on ISO standards, their benefits, and the experience of users who have implemented them.

From now on, the electronic edition of ISO’s magazine, ISO Focus+, is available for reading and downloading free of charge from the ISO website. In addition, the entire collection of previous issues of ISO Focus+ as well as ISO Focus (published from 2004–2009) and ISO Management Systems magazine (2001–2009) are also available free of charge as electronic files. For those who wish to receive a printed edition of ISO Focus+, a modest annual subscription of 38 Swiss francs is offered.

This will help address the increasing interest in standardization by managers in business and public-sector organizations, government officials, regulators, politicians, journalists, academics and students, consumer representatives, labor officials, nongovernmental organizations, and others.

“This initiative will help to further promote knowledge of the global contribution that ISO International Standards can make in providing practical tools for tackling global challenges in the service of the international community,” says ISO Secretary-General Rob Steel.

ISO has long recognized that proposing workable, concrete solutions is not enough. To consider implementing them, people must know about them. This has not been lost on industry, either. In the past, products might be developed according to engineering priorities and “thrown over the wall” to potential customers. Today, however, the most successful organizations understand that products need to be developed according to customer requirements, accompanied by services to help draw the maximum benefits from the product, and the whole package communicated and promoted.

ISO’s communications have greatly evolved in pace with such developments. ISO’s original magazine, ISO Bulletin, was a black-and-white publication in which the simple list of ISO standards rivaled the actual editorial content. A cover page in color and increased editorial content arrived at the beginning of the 1990s. In 2004, ISO Bulletin was replaced by the full-color ISO Focus, which marked the evolution from an institutional “flagship” publication to a magazine seeking to interest not only the participants in the ISO system, but also the customers for ISO standards in the world at large.

This evolution accelerated in January 2010 with the launch of ISO Focus+, published in both English and French, which emphasizes the benefits of implementing ISO standards over the processes that produce them or their detailed technical content. In line with this direction, the magazine highlights standards in action and the experience of users of ISO standards in their own words. In addition, ISO Focus+ increases coverage of the technical groups that actually develop ISO standards and presents the individuals that make up these groups. Standards are developed for people, and ISO Focus+ puts a face on the people who dedicate time and expertise to develop these standards.

Other recent communication initiatives by ISO include the production of videos, launching on social media platforms, and increasing the number of press releases. These measures in turn provide communication material for adoption by the ISO members and by the users of ISO standards who increasingly highlight this use in their own product information and communications.

As for the results: An important measure is the number of references to ISO and its standards on Internet media and business sites. Between January–May 2010, these totaled 134,301, rising during the same period in 2011 to 153,823—an increase of nearly 15 percent.


About The Author

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The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is the world’s largest developer and publisher of international standards. ISO is a network of the national standards institutes of 162 countries, one member per country, with a Central Secretariat in Geneva, Switzerland, that coordinates the system. ISO is a nongovernmental organization that forms a bridge between the public and private sectors. ISO enables a consensus to be reached on solutions that meet both the requirements of business and the broader needs of society. View the ISO Standards list.