The main guidelines for an efficient and effective personal information system have been laid down in the personal information policy for the public sector. The key element of this policy is the establishment of a well-structured system for the exchange of personal data between organisations in order to improve the services they provide to the public.

To help put this policy into effect, the Personal Information Policy Division of the Ministry of the Interior, in cooperation with other departments and organisations at other tiers of government, has developed a number of products which the whole of the public sector can use to establish an efficient and effective personal information system.

The following have already appeared:

Of these five parts, a version in English has been prepared of     part 4, and now also part 5, as presented here.

Part 5, Character Sets, constitutes not only an English translation of the version in Dutch, but also contains much additional material. It gives, like that, a survey of national and international developments and agreements in the field of characters, repertoires of those, and their coding systems. Given the multitude of languages and scripts that are being used in the interchange -- also by electronic means -- of data, this is not just a simple matter. It is further complicated by the requirement that in the exchange of personal data no information must be lost, and that names remain written correctly (including all diacritical marks). It is too easily assumed by the citizen in these days that automation is able to do almost anything. This citizen thus expects from the Government -- that has all kinds of electronic means at its disposal -- that it will address him with his correct full name. Correct writing is part of a correct approach by the Government of its citizens. It is my conviction that the Recommendations presented in this part 5 with respect to coded character sets will be adhered to in a wide field. How a message is displayed will determine to a large extent the appreciation by the people who receive it.

J. van Arkel,
Head of Department personal data policy,
Ministry of the Interior