Practical International Data Management - Country name

Defining a country is not as simple a task as one might imagine. Levels of independence, self-government, de facto independence, international recognition, and fitness for purpose all play a rôle in deciding what countries and territories are included in a country name list. Many entities such as Abkhazia, Taiwan, Kosovo, Transdniester, Puntland, Somaliland, South Ossetia and Puerto Rico have statuses which make definition difficult.

   How Many Countries Are There In The World? on YouTube
   How Many Countries Are There? on YouTube

Country codes and lists from various sources have may prove unsuitable for your purpose. They may be created with political influences and are not updated fast enough (or at all) as the world changes.

For managing international name and address data, consider the free list created by GRC Data Intelligence. This list is created on a pragmatic (non political) basis. Countries and territories ("entities") are included on the basis of:

This means that the list contains entities which are politically part of another country (e.g. Guadeloupe, Bonaire) and entities which have limited or no international political recognition (e.g. Kosovo, Transdniestria, Puntland) but not some of those with a wider measure of political independence (Scotland, Catalonia). Where useful, the reasons for inclusions have been given within the file. Though the list has been created without a political agenda, your use of it, and the country names in the list, may need to be used with political and cultural sensitivity. The country names are given in English according to common English use. However, these are for identification purposes only. You would not, for example, use "Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia" in a list shown in that country, nor "Falkland Islands" in Argentina, nor "Taiwan" in China. Lists need to be created with your own needs and customers in mind.

A country name is required on a postal address when mail is being sent across international borders. Its position in the address block is as defined by the postal authorities in the originating country, not as defined by the postal authorities in the receiving country. The country name should be in English, French or another major world language.

   Source: The Guardian, February 2010



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