ISO, founded in 1947, is a worldwide federation of national standards bodies from some 100 countries, with one standards body representing each member country. The American National Standards Institute (ANSI), for example, represents the United States. Member organizations collaborate in the development and promotion of international standards. Among the standards the ISO fosters is Open Systems Interconnection (OSI), a universal reference model for communication protocols.
According to ISO, “ISO” is not an abbreviation. It is a word, derived from the Greek isos, meaning “equal”, which is the root for the prefix “iso-” that occurs in a host of terms, such as “isometric” (of equal measure or dimensions) and “isonomy” (equality of laws, or of people before the law). The name ISO is used around the world to denote the organization, thus avoiding the assortment of abbreviations that would result from the translation of “International Organization for Standardization” into the different national languages of members. Whatever the country, the short form of the organization’s name is always ISO.