About an hour ago I started to write a new post here (well, rather more like a rant) about how much trouble I was having in finding an official list of counties and their ISO codes for use in a database.
I had spent a few hours searching (in different search engines) for such a list, but all I could find were HTML lists on Wikipedia and other random sources. Nothing that looked too official, and even though all the lists I did find looked ok, I would have prefered to have the list from some decent organisation.
I was getting rather frustrated. Then, as I was ranting, I realised I was looking for 'the country name and its ISO 2-letter code'. Hmm. ISO, the International Organization for Standardization. A thought occurred to me. Off I popped to the ISO homepage. Right there was a handy little 'Popular Standards' section, and in there was my country list. Downloadable as text, HTML or XML.
Exactly what I was looking for.
Now, in all my searches in 2 different search engines, nothing linked to this (or if it did, I missed it). Yet, it was what I was looking for.
This made me think. This could be put down to bad SEO on the part of ISO. When searching for this data, this page should have been at the top of the results.
But another thought crossed my mind - what made me search for this data in the first place? If I had thought about what I was doing for 2 minutes, I would have thought that maybe I should check the website of the organisation who made the standard in the first place. Failing that, hit the search engines.
I think I have just fallen into the habit of searching for anything I need to know, without considering whether I know where it ideally should be in the first place. It just strikes me as being a little bit lazy, and I could have saved a good few hours if I was a little more proactive.
Anyway, just thought I'd share it!