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  • Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) Standards

    This section of the OII Standards and Specifications List provides information on standards used for electronic data interchange (EDI). It contains details of:

    The standards in this section have been prepared by both private and public organisations. The following public bodies have been involved in their preparation:

    • UN/ECE CEFACT (United Nations/Economic Commission for Europe, Centre for Facilitation of Practices and Procedures for Administration, Commerce and Transport), established formally in March 1997, is the successor to the UN/ECE Working Party 4 (WP.4). It is responsible for the facilitation of international trade procedures and practices and its membership primarily includes national delegations, sectoral groups, and other impacted parties. CEFACT/WP.4 is in a state of migration and thus the precise structure and mandates of CEFACT and its subgroups are still under consultation but will encompass the previous groups such as WP.4/GE.1 (Development of UN/EDIFACT standards) and WP.4/GE.2 (Trade Procedures). CEFACT Rapporteurs will replace regional Rapporteurs and these will be based upon specific regional groupings rather than the pre-defined groups of countries as with WP.4. The role of regional EDIFACT boards is also under review; the (Western) European region (represented by EBES) and the Asian EDIFACT Board (ASEB) are still in existence but the other Boards (Eastern Europe, Pan-America, Australia/New Zealand and Africa) have now either officially ceased to exist or are in the process of winding-up. CEFACT UN/EDIFACT activity will be technically coordinated under the CEFACT JRT (Joint Rapporteurs Team) which includes global groups on Message Design, Legal Issues, Technical Assessment etc. These groups are then reflected to various degrees in the national/regional structures. Through the concept of mandates, CEFACT is also directly responsible for UN/EDIFACT Directory Maintenance, Technical and Administrative support (including the EDIFACT syntax jointly with ISO), Techniques for Facilitation (eg Business Information modelling) and Process analysis and Design (International Trade Transactions).
    • EAN - (Initials originally stood for European Article Numbering.) Voluntary, not-for-profit association, established to meet the communication needs of its users. EAN International was founded in 1977, as a result of the initiative of European manufacturers and distributors, which has expanded to cover the world. The organisation has a decentralised structure with a membership of 79 Numbering Organisations covering 86 countries.
    • ISO TC154 - This committee on "Documents and data elements in Administration, Commerce and Industry" is scoped to include the Standardization of documents and representation of data used for information interchange within administration, commerce and industry (Note : Only documents intended to be read by machines fall within the responsibility of ISO / IEC JTC1). It includes responsibility for the EDIFACT Syntax Rules (ISO 9735) in the ISO environment. New versions of ISO 9735 are first approved by the UN/ECE and are then submitted to TC 154 for ratification under the ISO fast track procedures.
    • ISO 7372 MA - ISO 7372 Maintenance Agency is authorised by UN/ECE WP.4 and the ISO Council for the maintenance of ISO 7372, the United Nations Trade Data Elements Directory (UNTDED), and its formal publication.
    • ISO / BSR - The ISO Basic Semantic Repository (BSR) Project was formally set up in 1994, jointly between UN/ECE and ISO. It establishes the rules, guidelines, and procedures for specifying "Basic Semantic Units" (BSUs) and "bridges" between the BSUs and data elements in the different data element directories used by EDI communities. An ISO ballot is taking place to determine the possibility of ISO TC154 being the Maintenance Agency/Registration Authority for the BSR operating in conjunction with other relevant ISO committees (e.g. TC 184, JTC1 SC14/30). The intention is to enable easy cross-referencing between data elements from different directories via a repository of "the smallest units of information which can be agreed upon at a conceptual level" (BSUs). The repository, therefore, is intended as a tool for the (eventual) harmonisation of data element directories and includes fields of application such as EDI/paper conversion bridges, application developers, Open-edi Semantic Units. It is intended that BSR be seen as a fundamental (stable) standard of ISO, with other standards on data conforming to it.
    • ISO/IEC JTC1/SC30 - JTC1 is the Joint Technical Committee of ISO and IEC, and deals with Information Technology. SC30 is the subcommittee of JTC1 that deals with Open-edi. Note : JTC 1 has recently established an Ad hoc group on Re-engineering to develop the concept of Business Team and has chosen the theme of Electronic Commerce to pilot this concept. The draft scope of this activity currently states that "The Electronic Commerce Business Team will assess the electronic commerce sector standardization needs and propose necessary steps to satisfy them through the facilitated communication and interactions between interested parties. It will focus on electronic transactions among individuals, businesses, and governments.
    • EBES - European Board for EDI/EC Standardization. EBES’ vision is to ‘Open the Globe to Europe through Electronic Commerce Standardization. EBES was formalised in September 1995 replacing the Western European EDIFACT Board (WEEB) and expanding on the scope of its activities. This expansion included wider EDI and EC standardization activities. EBES continues to coordinate regional UN/EDIFACT activities. The EBES Secretariat is supported and hosted by CEN. The future scoping of EBES is now under consideration in relation to the recent establishment of the CEN Information Society Standardization unit. Ratification of EBES, like WEEB, as an associated standards body of CEN is currently taking place.
    • CEN TC 251 - TC 251 is the committee that deals with medical informatics within CEN, with WG3 being responsible for healthcare communications and messaging. This has included activities connected with UN/EDIFACT (in cooperation with EBES) and HL7 although the future orientation of these activities is under consideration.
    • ANSI ASC X12 - In 1979, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) chartered the Accredited Standards Committee (ASC) X12 to develop uniform standards for inter-industry electronic interchange of business transactions-- EDI. The US Data Interchange Standards Association (DISA) supports the specific development and use of these EDI standards in electronic commerce. DISA's primary services are providing operational support for the X12 and UN/EDIFACT standards development process; maintaining and publishing EDI standards; and providing educational seminars, conferences, and related informational services. DISA members include Fortune 500 companies, government agencies, and organisations of all sizes.

    On-line information on all aspects of EDI can be obtained over the World Wide Web by contactinghttp://www.sol.no/norsk/edipro/ediweb.html.



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    UN/EDIFACT

    Expanded name
    Electronic Data Interchange for Administration, Commerce and Transport

    Area covered
    EDI messaging standards for various sectors

    Sponsoring body and standard details

    • UN/ECE CEFACT
    • UN/EDIFACT is a set of internationally agreed standards, directories, and guidelines for the electronic interchange of structured data between computerised information systems. Traditionally this has been related to the trade of goods although increasingly it is being used in other environments such as healthcare, tourism, legal etc. The UN/EDIFACT standards are published by the UN/ECE in the United Nations Trade Data Interchange Directory (UNTDID) and maintained under internationally agreed, consensus based procedures. They include standards related to both batch and interactive UN/EDIFACT. UNTDID includes:
      • The Directory Set
        • The UN/EDIFACT United Nations Standard Messages (UNSMs) Directory
        • The UN/EDIFACT Standard Segments Directory
        • The UN/EDIFACT Composite Data Elements Directory
        • The UN/EDIFACT Data Elements Directory
        • The UN/EDIFACT Code List
      • The EDIFACT Syntax Rules (Version 3), published by ISO as ISO 9735:1988/AMD1:1990 - Electronic data interchange for administration, commerce and transport (EDIFACT) -- Application level syntax rules
      • Syntax Implementation Guidelines
      • Message Design Guidelines (MDG)
      • Technical Assessment Checklist (TAC)
      • Uniform Rules of Conduct for the Interchange of Trade Data by Teletransmission (UNCID)
      • Additional explanatory material

    The various UN/EDIFACT Directories and the Code List are generally referred to as the UN/EDIFACT Directory set. A number ofdirectory sets have been issued since 1988, with D97B being the most recent. The nomenclature for each directory set has changed repeatedly over the years, as has the number of yearly releases and draft/standard status. Currently, standard directory sets containing UNSMs (United Nations Standard Messages) are issued twice each year. Note that the concept of trial, draft and standard directories has now been replaced by the concepts of MIDs (messages in development) and UNSMs. The D93A Standards Directory was used as the basis of CEN European Standards (ENs) through a fast track procedure in relation to WEEB/EBES associated standards body status within CEN. These were to be "frozen" for a minimum of three years so providing stability. However as several UN/EDIFACT directory sets have been released since 1993, a decision has recently been taken to propose the withdrawal of D93A based ENs. A decision, if any, has yet to be taken on the submission of a new directory set to CEN.

    Through the ISO/IEC/ECE MoU coordination management group, discussions are also taking place on the possibility of using ISO's fast track procedure (modified) in order for UN/EDIFACT directory sets to be recognised as ISO standards -- without change.

    The UN/EDIFACT Data Elements Directory is a subset of the United Nations Trade Data Elements Directory (ISO 7372:1993).

    The WP.4/CEFACT Syntax Development group has been working on the new draft version 4 of the UN/EDIFACT Syntax. The syntax is divided in 10 parts, each of which has a separate route through the WP.4/CEFACT and the joint ISO (TC 154)/UN/ECE fast track approval process. The first trace voting within ISO has approved parts 1,2,3,8. The other syntax parts are either still for approval in CEFACT and/or ISO. On this basis, the complete edition of ISO 9735 should be issued in late 1998.

    The new UN/EDIFACT batch Message Design Rules (MDR) covering Version 3 of the Syntax are being finalised and will be for CEFACT approval in late 1997 and implementation in mid 1998.

    Through the CEFACT AC1 Group, work is being progressed on Object Orientated EDI (OO-EDI) to build from UN/EDIFACT’s semantic and model content into today's technologies, notably the use of a top-down object oriented approach coupled with the rigorous use of modelling techniques -- principally the IDEF (Integration DEFinition) method. This means starting at the level of the business process, and decomposing this process, through a number of logical steps, all the way down to the semantic level.

    Characteristics/description
    The building blocks of UN/EDIFACT are the data elements and the syntax rules (see below). Data elements are the atomic units of an EDI exchange. The specification of a data element reflects the semantics of the equivalent unit of data in the user application.

    In UN/EDIFACT, individual (simple) data elements can be combined into composite data elements. Simple data elements and/or composite data elements are structured together into segments. Both segments and composites allow qualification, which allows the creation of very generic components. This genericity is one of the key differences between UN/EDIFACT and TDI.

    Messages are the end-products of the UN/EDIFACT process. A UN/EDIFACT message describes a particular business process which often corresponds to a traditional paper document (examples of UN/EDIFACT messages range from invoicing (INVOIC) through to MEDREQ (Medical Service Request Message). The structure of a UN/EDIFACT message is defined by a collection of segments -- generally organised into groups. The message specification includes the maximum number of occurrences of the individual segment groups and their component segments, as well as their status (mandatory or conditional).

    The EDIFACT Syntax Rules define the structuring of (simple) data elements, composite data elements, segments, and messages. The principal characteristics of the EDIFACT Syntax Rules are:

    • Hierarchical structuring
    • Implicit data element identification
    • Flexible length data structures
    • Mandatory or conditional status of data elements and segments.

    Version 3 EDIFACT Syntax Rules is designed for batch mode data transfer. Draft Version 4 of the Syntax Rules formally includes new parts on interactive data transfer, security mechanisms, multi-format data exchange, a specific service message for acknowledgement and error notification, as well as significant revisions to the batch mode EDI transfer rules. Interactive EDIFACT (I-EDI) is characterised by a formalised association between the two interchange parties through the use of a dialogue, short response times, and the ability to dynamically direct the course of the transaction as a result of earlier exchanges within the dialogue.

    Usage (Market segment and penetration)

    Since the approval of the Invoice Message (INVOIC) as a UNSM in 1988, UN/EDIFACT has been widened to cover a multitude of industry sectors. To date around 160 messages have been approved as UNSMs (Previously Status 1 and Status 2) and approximately 100 have been approved as "Messages in development (MID)" (previously Status 0).

    It should be noted that the UN/EDIFACT process has spawned a number of European EDI user groups (EUREDIS), who input to the development of UN/EDIFACT message specifications. Typically, these EUREDIS are industry-sector specific. Some of the EUREDIS also have a large programme of work for the development of Message Implementation Guidelines specific to their sector needs, as well as other activities in EDI related areas. A number of EUREDIS have widened their scope to cover Electronic Commerce.

    An example of EUREDIS and their activities is the Travel Technology Initiative which consists of about 100 member companies (mostly travel principles and agents, plus a few technology suppliers) from 6 European countries. This Initiative has created two UN/EDIFACT-based standards which are known to be in use in about 70 European companies and a few outside Europe. The two standards are:

    • Unicorn - a set of messages relating to passenger and vehicle transportation, accommodation, insurance and general sales
    • RESCON - a simplified message from a provider of travel products to a retailer, confirming details of a booking which has been or may be made.

    In addition to EUREDIS, UN/EDIFACT message development is supported by industry groupings whose activities are considerably wider than but include EDI. Some of these are international organisations. Examples are SWIFT and UIC, which are covered elsewhere in this report as these two organisations have also developed their own proprietary EDI standards which pre-date UN/EDIFACT.

    Sectorial areas covered by UN/EDIFACT messages include :

    • Trade - active EUREDIS and/or other industry-based organisations include CEFIC (chemical industry), EAN International (retail),EDIFICE (computing, electronics and telecommunications), EDItEUR (book sector), EDITEX (textile), ETIS (telecommunications),ODETTE (automotive)
    • Transport
    • Customs and Taxation
    • Finance - active EUREDIS and/or other industry-based organisations include SWIFT (inter-bank clearance)
    • Architectural/Engineering/Construction - active EUREDIS and/or other industry-based organisations include EDICON (construction)
    • Statistics
    • Insurance - active EUREDIS and/or other industry-based organisations include RINET (re-insurance)
    • Travel, Tourism and Leisure - active EUREDIS and/or other industry-based organisations include IATA (airlines), Travel Technology Initiative (travel principles and agents), UIC (railways)
    • Healthcare - active EUREDIS and/or other industry-based organisations include EMEDI
    • Social Administration, Employment and Education
    • Legal, Judicial, Accountancy, Audit and Registration - active EUREDIS and/or other industry-based organisations include EDIFICAS
    • Public Procurement.

    Use of UN/EDIFACT has increased considerably in Europe, as well as in other parts of the world. Cross-border EDI transactions are also rising. Many EDI communities who have proprietary EDI standards have now (partially) migrated to UN/EDIFACT (including ODETTE, SWIFT, the TDI community, and ANSI X12).

    Further details available from:
    UN/ECE WP.4 Secretariat, Palais de Nation, CH-1211, Geneve 10, Switzerland (Tel +41 22 917 2745, http://www.unece.org/trafix/), EBES Secretariat, c/o CEN, 36 Rue de Stassart, B-1050, BELGIUM (Tel : +322 5500989, http://www.ebes.eu.org/) or national standards bodies/trade facilitation bodies

    ISO standardation of UN/EDIFACT directories
    OII Multimedia and Hypermedia Standards Activity Report, September 1997


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    EANCOM

    Expanded name
    International Article Numbering Association (EAN) EDI COMmunication Implementation Guidelines

    Area covered
    Detailed implementation guidelines on the usage of UN/EDIFACT within the trade environment

    Sponsoring body and standard details

    • International Article Numbering Association (EAN)
    • A profile containing a subset of several UN/EDIFACT messages for providing clear definitions and explanations which allow trading partners to exchange commercial documents in a simple, accurate and cost effective manner. EAN closely collaborates with national and international user groups around the world representing key companies in a wide range of sectors including chemicals, electronics, libraries and healthcare.

    Characteristics/description
    EANCOM is solely based upon UN/EDIFACT directories although issued on a less frequent basis-- so providing additional stability. EANCOM is a directory of Message Implementation Guides which subset the UN/EDIFACT messages and provide detailed usage and mapping information. EANCOM provides a logical, and linked, sequence of messages used in business including messages connected with master data (eg Parties), commercial transactions, reporting, and general messages. In EANCOM messages, each product is defined in its widest sense is identified by a unique EAN standard article number, and each party and is defined by a unique EAN location number. Use of EAN standards in EDI aims to provide the following benefits:

    • EAN Standard (unique) identification numbers
    • Multi-industry standard
    • Internationally recognised (including local language support)

    Usage (Market segment and penetration)
    The EAN/UCC system is used by more than 600,000 companies world-wide. Message usage is in the following areas : Party/Product information, Quotations, Orders, Transport/Logistics, Invoice/Remittance Advice, Delivery/Sales/Stock reports, General messages.

    Further details available from:
    EAN, Rue des Colonies 54 Bte 8, B-1000 Brussels, Belgium (Tel : +322 218 7674, http://www.ean.be/)



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    Healthcare

    Expanded name
    Healthcare EDI standards

    Area covered
    Exchange of messages related to health care

    Sponsoring body and standard details

    • Various, including Health Level Seven (HL7) (Accredited by ANSI), ANSI committees (ASC X3, ASC X12N and ASZ Z80), American Health Information Management Association, ASTM Committee E31, Institute for Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) and National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA, who are responsible for the ACR-NEMA standard), CEN TC 251 and EBES Expert Group 9 (Healthcare)
    • A whole range of standards, covering different aspects of healthcare, have been produced:
      • HL7: Various application protocols for electronic exchange in healthcare environment
      • ANSI ASC X3: Identification cards and related devices, published by ISO/IEC JTC1/SC17 as:
        • ISO 7810:1985 Identification cards -- Physical characteristics
        • ISO 7811:1985 Identification cards -- Recording technique
        • ISO 7812:1993 Identification cards -- Identification of issuers
        • ISO 7813:1990 Identification cards -- Financial transaction cards
        • ISO 7816:1987 Identification cards -- Integrated circuit(s) with contacts
      • ANSI ASC X12N: Various X12 messages related to healthcare insurance
      • ASZ Z80: Draft Standard on Data Processing and Information Interchange
      • IEEE: Various draft P1073 parts related to medical device communications; various draft P1157 parts on healthcare data interchange standards
      • NEMA: Various draft DIALCOM standards

    Characteristics/description
    These standards have structures and features that are generally specific to the needs of the healthcare community and do not provide a mechanism for the general interchange of information. Collaboration and cooperation between healthcare standards communities, principally HL7 / X12 / UN/EDIFACT, may lead to increasing convergence in the meaning and use of the information content required to support specific healthcare information flows. The most notable of these standards is HL7, which is a protocol for application level communications among diverse health data acquisition, processing and handling systems. The syntax has its roots in ASC X12 and can be seen as analogous to UN/EDIFACT. However, the HL7 community has recently embarked on a major revamp of its design process that divorces the business models (messages) and the syntax allowing character-based transfers using an HL7 like syntax such as CORBA (under the project called ANDOVER). ANDOVER defines profiles of optimised and limited optionality HL7 message subsets to be pre-configured into so called "Enterprise Communicators" to facilitate information exchange using Object Brokering Technologies. ANDOVER will also accommodate UN/EDIFACT messages.

    Usage (Market segment and penetration)
    Usage of the different healthcare standards is specific to the relevant healthcare community. Cooperation between the various organisations is, however, increasing. In Europe, CEN TC251/WG3 has worked closely with EBES in the development of UN/EDIFACT healthcare messages including those connected with medical resource usage and cost and medical services.

    The majority of HL7 members are in the USA although affiliate organisations have been established in other states including several in Europe (e.g. Germany and Netherlands). Much of the impetus for these "Internationalisation" activities comes from the fact that US suppliers provide native HL7 compliant hospital systems to these countries. HL7 covers admission, discharge, transfers, orders, results, queries, detailed financial transactions, and ancillary reporting.

    Further details available from:
    CEN TC 251 Rue de Stassart 36 B1050, Belgium (Tel : +322 5500811), EBES Expert Group 9 (http://eeg09.ebes.eu.org/) or national standards bodies for further contacts



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    IATA-EDI

    Expanded name
    International Air Transport Association EDI standards

    Area covered
    Interchange of information related to air transport

    Sponsoring body and standard details

    • International Air Transport Association (IATA)
    • A series of EDI messages have been prepared for IATA members for cargo and passenger applications

    Characteristics/description
    IATA standards are one of the earliest applications of EDI standards. IATA has defined a proprietary data dictionary using specific data elements and syntax rules. Messages developed by IATA relate to passenger travel, cargo movement, and parts ordering.

    Usage (Market segment and penetration)
    IATA members cover all the major airlines in the world and their registered suppliers. IATA has developed highly sophisticated systems for processing significant volumes of messages in both batch and interactive environments. IATA messages are used by their member organisations as well as many of their travel partners (e.g. car hire companies, airports, hotels). IATA has set up a extensive structure of committees for the development and maintenance of its EDI message standards.

    IATA has undertaken a major activity to migrate from its own standard to UN/EDIFACT. For instance, the IATA Cargo-IMP series of messages have now been mapped onto UN/EDIFACT (Cargo-FACT). Another important development of IATA has been the development of the IATA Interactive UN/EDIFACT. This is based on the interactive UN/EDIFACT specifications at the interchange level and OSI Transaction Processing at the communications level. IATA members have been some of the main driving forces for the addition of interactive components to the UN/EDIFACT directory sets.

    Further details available from:
    IATA, Route de l'Aeroport 33, PO Box 672, CH-1215, Switzerland (Tel +41 22 799 2525, http://www.iata.org/)



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    ODETTE

    Expanded name
    Organisation for Data Exchange Through Tele-transmission in Europe EDI standards

    Area covered
    Interchange of information related to motor manufacturing

    Sponsoring body and standard details

    • Organisation for Data Exchange Through Tele-transmission in Europe (ODETTE)
    • A set of EDI message standards for exchange between ODETTE's motor manufacturing members, other automotive industry partners and within other industry sectors.

    Characteristics/description
    ODETTE messages cover a range of business processes, including invoices, delivery instructions, reply to delivery instructions, despatch advice, debit notes, credit notes, remittance advice, etc. ODETTE has made a firm commitment to migrate to UN/EDIFACT and releases its first implementation profiles in late 1997. These are based upon the original ODETTE standards, which were one of the earliest applications of the EDI standards, with the syntax based closely on TDI. ODETTE is also working on a series of after-market messages targeted at after sales support functions.

    Usage (Market segment and penetration)
    The ODETTE standards were widely implemented by its member organisations following the launch of the organisation in 1984. With the advent of UN/EDIFACT, ODETTE members have been steadily migrating to UN/EDIFACT. Indeed ODETTE is one of the founding and principal sectoral members of EBES. The original standards are still in use, but a nominal target date of year 2000 for the main part of the migration is envisaged.

    It should be noted that the remit of ODETTE is considerably wider than the development of EDI standards. ODETTE has produced its own communications software for EDI transactions, including the ODETTE File Transfer Protocol (OFTP), which is used by the ODETTE members as well as other communities (eg White goods).

    Further details available from:
    ODETTE Belgium, Bld. de la Woluwe, 46 - Bte 6, Belgium



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    Open-edi Reference Model

    Area covered
    A framework describing the integration of existing standards and the development of future standards for the inter-working of organisations. Open-edi can be defined as Electronic Data Interchange among multiple autonomous organisations to accomplish an explicit shared business goal according to Open-edi standards.

    Sponsoring body and standard details

    Characteristics/description
    The Open-edi Reference Model aims to identify the required standards for Open-edi and provides a reference for these standards by defining the basic concepts used to develop Open-edi standards. One of the precepts of Open-edi is the fact that transactions would take place without any form of pre-agreement as is characterised by conventional (non-open) EDI. The Open-edi model is independent of specific:

    • Implementations
    • Business content or conventions
    • Business activities
    • Organisations.

    The Open-edi Reference Model uses two views to describe the relevant aspects of business transactions: Business Operational View (BOV) and Functional Service View (FSV). The BOV addresses the aspects of semantics of business data in business transactions and associated data interchanges. The FSV addresses the supporting services meeting the mechanistic needs of Open-edi, with a focus on the Information Technology aspects (service capabilities, service interfaces and protocols).

    Usage (Market segment and penetration)
    The Open-edi Reference Model is not applicable for direct use.

    Further details available from:
    SC30 Secretariat, AFNOR, Tour Europe, Cedex 7, 92049 Paris de Defense, France (Tel:+331 4291 5555, http://www.afnor.fr)

    More on-line information on Open-edi can be obtained by contacting



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    SPEC 2000(M)

    Expanded name
    Association Europenne des Constructeurs de Materies Aerospatial SPEC 2000(M)

    Area covered
    Interchange of messages between members of the European defence industries

    Sponsoring body and standard details

    • Association Europenne des Constructeurs de Materies Aerospatial (AECMA)
    • A set of EDI message standards for military logistics support, especially for exchange between defence establishments and their suppliers

    Characteristics/description
    SPEC 2000(M) has its proprietary data dictionary and syntax rules. The syntax rules allow considerable flexibility in the message structure. Both data values and the associated data identifiers are transmitted.

    Usage (Market segment and penetration)
    SPEC 2000(M) is commonly used for the interchange of data between members of the AECMA. AECMA is now working actively within the UN/EDIFACT community particularly with the EBES Expert Group 1 (Trade) area.

    Further details available from:
    AECMA, Gulledelle 94, B-1200 BRUSSELS (Tel : + 32 2 775 81 10)



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    SWIFT

    Expanded name
    Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications EDI standards

    Area covered
    International banking

    Sponsoring body and standard details
    Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications (SWIFT)

    Characteristics/description
    A set of standard messages for international payments, statement, and other transactions related to international finance between banks. The SWIFT standards are one of the earliest examples of the use of EDI standards. They have their own data dictionary and syntax rules. The syntax rules allow for fixed format data transmission.

    Each SWIFT message comprises a header, the user data, an authenticator, and a trailer. On entering the network, the message is automatically encrypted to ensure secrecy. The authenticator guarantees that the text has not been modified during transmission.

    The user data is organised into two kinds of fields. Mandatory fields contain information essential for the messages to be processed. Optional fields are used for transactions that are more complex and for additional instructions.

    Service or "system" messages are also available to enable users to communicate with the SWIFT system itself (for requesting system functions, special reports, message retrieval, training, etc) and vice versa (for responding to user requests, announcing system upgrades and new services, etc).

    Usage (Market segment and penetration)
    SWIFT messages are widely used between around 7000 institutions (SWIFT members, fund managers, investment institutions etc.) the majority for inter-bank communications over the SWIFT network. There are some 200 message types and over a 3 million messages are transmitted each day across the SWIFT network.

    SWIFT has announced its intention to support UN/EDIFACT messages for the trader to bank interface.

    Further details available from:
    SWIFT, Avenue Adele 1, B-1310 La Hulpe, Belgium (Tel : +332 655 3111)



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    TDI

    Expanded name
    Trade Data Interchange

    Area covered
    A series of EDI messaging standards for retail and distribution

    Sponsoring body and standard details

    • Various national article numbering associations
    • TDI is a generic EDI standard from which various standards sponsored by national article numbering associations are derived. Examples include:
      • Tradacoms in the UK
      • Sedas in Germany
      • Gencod in France
      • Transcom in the Netherlands
      • Aecom in Spain
      • Dakcom in Sweden.

    Characteristics/description
    TDI is one of the two cornerstones of UN/EDIFACT (the other is ANSI X12) and, therefore, shares many of the UN/EDIFACT features. The crucial distinction lies in the data elements. TDI has very specific data elements in relation to the individual data units in the user application. Unlike UN/EDIFACT, in which data elements are strictly position dependent, there is a considerable amount of flexibility for the positioning of data elements in the individual TDI messages. Both the data value as well as the identifier for the associated data element are transmitted in the message exchange. In addition, TDI has a unique set of notations and rules on representations.

    Unlike UN/EDIFACT, qualified data elements and composite data elements are not available in TDI.

    Usage (Market segment and penetration)
    Usage of TDI remains prevalent among retailers in many countries, and is closely linked to the article numbering scheme (bar coding). In the UK, for instance, the Tradacoms community is the largest national EDI user community in terms of the number of subscribing members. Nevertheless, the International Article Numbering Association (EAN) has migrated to UN/EDIFACT through the EANCOM initiative, which has developed a series of message implementation guides (MIGs) of UN/EDIFACT trade messages in relation to the requirements of EAN members.

    Further details available from:
    National article numbering associations



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    UIC 912

    Expanded name
    Union Internationale de Chemins de Fer 912 protocol

    Area covered
    A set of standard messages for international exchange of information between railways

    Sponsoring body and standard details

    • Union Internationale des Chemins de fer (International Union of Railways)
    • Leaflet No. 912, Version 0

    Characteristics/description
    The 912 protocol specifies a series of message formats for the exchange of information between member railways of UIC. The application areas covered are international freight, passenger and baggage traffic, and documentary research.

    Each message format contains a header followed by a series of 32 bit fields. 912 is unique in that the first 32 bit field identifies the optional elements to be used in the message by invoking the bit rate of the particular element if it is present in the actual transmission. The message format contains both optional and mandatory elements.

    Usage (Market segment and penetration)
    912 is widely used by UIC members for inter-railway communications in conjunction with other UIC communications protocols (e.g. the UIC FTP file transfer protocol). UIC is at present developing a strategy for migration to open systems solutions.. The implementation of UN/EDIFACT based messages for cross-border exchange of consignment notes is under pilot under the ORFEUS initiative.

    Further details available from:
    UIC, 16, rue Jean Rey F, 75015 Paris, France (Tel : +331 44 49 20 87)



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    X12

    Expanded name
    American National Standards Institute X12 standards

    Area covered
    EDI messaging standard for various sectors

    Sponsoring body and standard details

    • ANSI ASC X12
    • A particular X12 standard is one of three types:
      • A control and foundation standard
      • A transaction set (which uses the X12 Syntax)
      • A message (which uses the EDIFACT syntax).

      Current control and foundation standards include:

      • X12.3 Data Element Dictionary
      • X12.5 Interchange Control Structure
      • X12.6 Application Control Structure
      • X12.22 Segment Directory
      • X12.56 Interconnect Mailbag Control Structures
      • X12.58 Security Structures
      • X12.59 Implementation of EDI Structures - Semantic Impact

    Note: X12.5 and X12.6 define the X12 Syntax.

    The most recent transaction sets and messages are published in Draft Standards for Trial Use (DSTU) Version 3 Release 5 (December 1994). This contains 225 transaction sets and two (UN/EDIFACT) messages.

    DSTUs are fully approved by ASC X12, though not by ANSI. Once approved by ANSI, DSTUs become American National Standards (ANS). It is expected that ANS Version 4 will be functionally equivalent to DSTU Version 3, Release 7.

    ANS Version 3, published in March 1992, is functionally equivalent to DSTU Version 2, Release 4.

    Characteristics/description
    ANSI X12 is one of the two cornerstones of UN/EDIFACT (the other is TDI) and, therefore, shares many of the UN/EDIFACT features. The crucial distinction lies in the data elements. In ANSI X12, there is extensive use of qualifiers which are not available in TDI. However, unlike UN/EDIFACT, there are no composite data elements. The precise specification of the X12 Syntax Rules, while sharing the principles of the EDIFACT Syntax Rules (e.g. hierarchical structuring, implicit data element identification, etc) allows for a different structuring of the data elements. Moreover, ANSI X12 has it unique set of notations and rules on representations (implementation notes). The ANSI standards include security mechanisms, messaging structures and multi-format data exchange techniques most of which will only be formally introduced into UN/EDIFACT upon the full approval of UN/EDIFACT version 4 syntax.

    ANSI transaction sets include those that share very similar business functions. Thus, there are a number of different ANSI transaction sets for sector-specific invoicing, all of which relate closely to the single UN/EDIFACT Invoice Message.

    Usage (Market segment and penetration)
    ANSI X12 messages cover a wide range of industry sectors, with a particular emphasis on trade and transport. It is worth noting that ASC X12 is a confederation of interests and includes communities who have their specific EDI standards "based" on the X12 Syntax (e.g. the SPEC 2000 standard - not to be confused with AECMA SPEC 2000(M) - of the American Air Transport Association). The primary geographic focus is within the North American marketplace.

    In 1994 ASC X12 balloted its members concerning the migration to UN/EDIFACT, with 1997 being set as the target date. A majority of 75% was returned in favour of the migration plan. The original migration plan was, however, amended through a motion tabled by the US healthcare community at an X12 meeting in February 1995. The amendment means that future versions of ANS will be issued beyond Version 4 originally planned for 1997, and X12 transaction sets will continue to be processed as ANS’s after 1997. It has however been decided that the ballot on migration to UN/EDIFACT is to be carried out every three years until a firm position on migration is reached. It is uncertain if the 75% majority will be maintained.

    Further details available from:
    Data Interchange Standards Association (DISA), 1800 Diagonal Road, Suite 355, Alexandria, VA 22314, USA (Tel : +1 703 548 7005,http://polaris.disa.org)



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    Other-EDI

    Expanded name
    Other EDI standards

    Area covered
    Various areas

    Sponsoring body and standard details

    • European Workshop for Open Systems Expert Group on EDI (EWOS EGEDI) dealt with the communications and related areas of EDI, including the technical aspects of Electronic Commerce. Following reorganisation in the European ICT arena, the work of EWOS has now been absorbed into the CEN Information Society Standardization System initiative (CEN ISSS) under the ISSS unit.
      • ETG 30 (1993) EWOS Technical Guide on EDI
      • ED 111 (1995) / DISP 12073 (1996) EDI Use of the Directory
      • ETG 58 (1996) Descriptive Technique for EDI Message Profiles (ESTEEM)
      • ETG 61 (1996) EDI and Composite Structures
      • Technical Report of PT033 (1996) OSE Profiles for Interactive EDI
      • ETG 65 (1996) Assessment of IMPDEF (UN/EDIFACT Implementation Guidelines Definition message)
      • ETG 66 (1996) EWOS Technical Guide on Electronic Commerce
      • ETG 67 (1966) Guidance on EDI Use of the Directory

    Characteristics/description
    The practical use of EDI requires communications support and implementation guidance material

    Usage (Market segment and penetration)
    The publications have been widely circulated to the international EDI community

    Further details available from:
    CEN ISSS, Rue de Stassart 36, B-1050, Brussels, Belgium (Tel +322 5500811, http://www.ewos.be -- operated until Autumn 1997)



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    This information set on OII standards is maintained by Martin Bryan of The SGML Centre and Man-Sze Li of IC Focus on behalf of European Commission DGXIII/E.

    File last updated: September 1997

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