Finally I have ISMN news for you --- some good, some bad, or let's say, less good.
The good news first: After several months of bureaucratic struggles the new International ISMN Agency is finally registered as an association under German law. The current (interim) board consists of Dr. Joachim Jaenecke (State Library, deputy chair), Dr. Bettina von Seyfried (German Music Archives, treasurer), and myself (chair). Building on the experience of ISBN we decided to start the association with German members only --- not as a discrimination but in order to shorten the registration formalities: Nowadays the courts suspect you always of trying to establish money laundries, or other odd activities, and therefore they check very thoroughly.
The next step is to establish an account, and get some other formalities taken care of. Very soon I shall send all of you a form stating that you (i.e. your institution) become member of the International ISMN Agency and that the existing contracts remain valid. Actually, the Agency remains the same, the address the same, the people the same --- it is just that the Agency will no longer be an integral part of the State Library but will just have its office. Therefore I assume that the signing of an additional form seems the easiest way to handle the matter. Will your administrations have difficulty with that?
You are all aware of the next ISMN Panel to be hosted by the National Library of Norway, at the end of May, 2007. That will then be the first Annual General Assembly as prescribed by law.
The second news item is less positive. Some of you have been asking for a while how the standard revision is going on. No progress, unfortunately! The year started auspiciously: At the ISO TC46/SC9 meeting we discussed an improved Committee Draft, and things looked good. Then the secretary of SC9 took the notes with her to Paris (in April), to an ISSN meeting, to work on it during the weekend. At the dinner in the evening (at a restaurant) the notes were stolen!! Since then the secretary has tried to reconstruct the draft but also got other work to do in her library, owing to a restructuring of operations. I keep sending regular notes to Ottawa to remind poor Jane Thacker of our needs. Brian Green, chair of SC9, emphasized our desperate needs by phone.
Unfortunately, before the missing draft has not been voted upon, we cannot make any definitive statement on the future standard --- We keep at it --- and things can now only get better!!