Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) Standardized Archives

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

The collection is broadly divided into correspondence files (containing letters and BSI forms) and document files (containing documents circulated to committees). The many committees involved were as follows:

  • ISO - International Organization for Standardization;
  • IEC - International Electrotechnical Commission;
  • JTC 1 - Joint Technical Committee 1;
  • TC 97 - Technical Committee 97;
  • SC 16 - Subcommittee 16;
  • SC 21 - Subcommittee 21;
  • DPS/20, OIS/16, OIS/121, IST/21 - BSI Technical Committees.

The collection comprises 11 series:

  • 1, Boxes 1-4. Detailed description of OSI committees and material in the files; various BSI publications on standards; the personal notebooks re. the committees of M.J. Purton;
  • 2, Boxes 5-16. DPS/20 files;
  • 3, Boxes 17-67. OIS/16 files;
  • 4, Boxes 68-85. ISO/TC/97/SC16;
  • 5, Boxes 86-141. ISO/TC/97/SC21;
  • 6, Boxes 142-156. OIS/121;
  • 7, Boxes 157-168. IST/21;
  • 8, Boxes 169-204. ISO/TC.97/SC21;
  • 9, Boxes 205-214. ISO/TC/97/SC16/WG;
  • 10, Boxes 215-217. Miscellaneous documents e.g. document index;
  • 11, Correspondence.

Administrative / Biographical History

These BSI (British Standards Institution) files concern national and international committees dealing with Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) for the period 1978-1987. They deal with the OSI Reference Model, formal description techniques, conformance testing methodology and framework, registration authorities, OSI management, the Application, Presentation, Session and (up to 1984) Transport Layers.

The ISO (International Organisation for Standardization) work on OSI was the first large-scale standardization programme in Information Technology to have a significant impact on both suppliers and users. It developed the concept of prospective standardization (in which the work was carried out before the availability of products) in an area of fast-moving technology. An important aspect of the work was the development of a Reference Model which provided a framework for future standards, enabling work on those standards to proceed independently. The correspondence in the DPS/20 files relating to the formation of the committees and background work on the Reference Model provides an insight into the work of the committees which will not be apparent from the formal records.

The files represent an important record of the history of OSI. The development in this area took place in ISO committees and the records of the work were until now not available publicly. The BSI records are unique within the UK and it is not certain how far equivalent records exist internationally.

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open to any accredited reader.

Acquisition Information

Donated by the British Standards Institution.