Demystifying ISO 8000

Are you thinking about implementing ISO 8000?  Are you unclear what is meant by various extracts from the standard, such as the following key passages?:

  • ISO 8000 specifies requirements that can be checked by computer for the exchange, between organizations and systems, of master data that consists of characteristic data. It follows that as property values are the fundamental building blocks of electronically stored information, the quality of the property values is one of the determinants of the quality of the information.
  • ISO 8000 part 110 requires that a master data message be exchanged with characteristic data in a coded format, in which each natural language label is replaced with a reference to a data dictionary entry. The data dictionary entry contains natural language terms and definitions of the property in one or more languages.
  • Data encoded using an ISO 22745-10 open technical dictionary and formatted in XML in accordance with ISO 22745-40 meets the requirements specified in ISO 8000 -110

What does all this mean?  Why is ISO 22745 suddenly being referenced in ISO 8000? What is a concept dictionary?  What is a property value pair?  What is an identification guide?  Why are there so many parts to each standard?

On the this site we have included a (technical) glossary of terms and definitions from both ISO 22745 and ISO 8000, and elsewhere on the site we try to explain in various articles what these terms and definitions mean in practice.  We label the articles on the site as either a technical article or a demystifying article.

Our goal is to encourage you to adopt the standard, and we believe this will best be achieved if you understand the purpose of the standard and how it can be implemented.

Your understanding of the standard is the key goal of our training and our consultancy.

So as a starter, here are some frequently asked questions.  If you have any other questions you would like to ask, send us an email and we will answer it directly to you.  We will also add appropriate questions and answers to the list below.

What is the difference between a concept dictionary, a data dictionary and a standard dictionary?

ISO 22745 differentiates a data dictionary and a concept dictionary simply by defining that one is a collection of data and one is a collection of concepts, and that both allow look up by identifiers. A standard dictionary groups words and their definitions in alphabetical order. A concept dictionary groups terms by concepts and allows a reverse look up. In other words you can search for a definition in a concept dictionary and it will return the term. This feature is available in on-line dictionaries such as the ISO open browsing platform (OBP). With the advent of on-line databases the concept dictionary has become a practical proposition.

Why do you need to know this? Where the standard refers to the creation of a corporate data dictionary as the first step towards ISO 8000, the standards means a concept dictionary. So keep that in mind when you are recording your terms and definitions. The creation of concepts is vital when offering language translations to terms and definitions, as the different languages are linked by the concept identifier.

A data dictionary, as defined in the standard, is not a collection of templates containing nouns, modifiers and attributes.

What is the KOIOS open technical dictionary?

The MRO Insyte KOIOS OTD is a concept dictionary. In the KOIOS open technical dictionary, we have included the source reference in the look up, in addition to the terms and definitions. So if you want to look up the terms and definitions that appear in ISO 8000 you can type “8000” in the search box and it will list all the relevant terms. This feature is also available on the ISO open browsing platform (OBP). Where KOIOS goes one step further than the ISO OPB is that we also include the standard titles in the look up. We added the standard title to the definition in order to give the definition context, as often the same term appears multiple times, in multiple standards, when you search the OBP.

What is the ECCMA open technical dictionary?

The eOTD is the world’s largest open technical dictionary; it is, in the words of ECCMA, “an ISO 22745-20 compliant central registry of terminology where each concept and multilingual terminological component is assigned a unique and permanent public domain identifier”. ECCMA go on to claim that “creating a subset of the eOTD is the fastest and most reliable method to create or maintain a corporate dictionary. The eOTD public domain concept identifiers are designed specifically to allow the creation of portable data and to protect corporate master data from third party copyright claims”. All the terms created in the KOIOS dictionary are added to the ECCMA open technical dictionary.

What is a data requirement?

A data requirement is also known by the terms: data specification and identification guide. Data cleaning organisations often refer to these identification guides as cataloguing templates. The data requirement comprises of concept identifiers from a concept dictionary. Hopefully you can see the pattern here. First, you create the terms and definitions, then, you use a sub-set of those terms and definitions to state the requirement. It is important that the requirement meets the needs of the user of the data.

What is a property value pair?

A property value pair, consists of the combination of the property name and the property value. The property name comes from the open technical dictionary. Values are also available, and can be added to, the technical dictionary.

The standard states that “property value pairs are the fundamental building block of electronically stored information. A property value pair consists of a labeled data value where the property identifier points to the meaning of the data value”.

The standard goes on to say that “the quality of the property value pairs is one of the determinants of the quality of the information”.

What does portable data mean, and why is it important?

Portable data means data that can be separated from the software that created it.

Having portable data therefore ensures that the data you have created can be easily moved from one application to another, and preserved over time independently from the software you used to create it.

Customer data lock-in is common place. Take Spotify and iTunes. Can you move the music you have downloaded on Spotify to iTunes, or visa versa? ISO 10303 addresses the issues of neutral, portable data, and specifically the exchange of product manufacturing information. You may have heard of ISO 10303 by its informal name STEP. ISO 8000 addresses a wider scope of master data, data that identifies and describes individuals, organisations, locations, products, services, processes, rules and regulations.

The objective of portable data is to provide a mechanism that is capable of describing product data throughout the whole data life cycle. In the case of asset intensive industries, that life may well extend over a number of enterprise software changes. So having portable data is as essential as having security of the data.

Using public domain concept identifiers and metadata, as found in open technical dictionaries, protects the intellectual property in the data from claims of “joint work”, a term often used in software small print.

How and why is ISO 22745 linked with ISO 8000?

For data to conform to ISO 8000-110 it must be quality data that meets the requirements and is portable.

Quality data comes from the implementing three stages of ISO 22745:

  1. The open technical dictionary (part 10)
  2. The identification guide (part 30)
  3. The master data, formatted in XML (part 40)

So, ISO 22745 is the essential foundation from which data quality can be measured, that is why is is referenced in ISO 8000.

How many parts are there to ISO 22745, the industrial automation and integration standard?

The standard is published as a series of parts under the general heading. Each part is published separately, and each part can be purchased separately.

There are currently ten (10) published parts (2016):

Part 1 Overview and fundamental principles
Part 2 Vocabulary
Part 10 Dictionary representation
Part 11 Guidelines for the formulation of terminology
Part 13 Identification of concepts and terminology
Part 14 Dictionary query interface
Part 20 Procedures for the maintenance of an open technical dictionary
Part 30 Identification guide representation
Part 35 Query for characteristic data
Part 40 Master data representation


You can buy the standards either directly from the ISO store or from your national standards body.

How many parts are there to ISO 8000, the data quality standard?

The standard is published as a series of parts under the general heading. Each part is published separately, and each part can be purchased separately.

There are currently ten (10) published parts (2016):

Part 1 Overview
Part 2 Vocabulary
Part8 Information and data quality: Concepts and measuring
Part 100 Master data: Exchange of characteristic data: Overview
Part 120 Master data: Exchange of characteristic data: Provenance
Part 130 Master data: Exchange of characteristic data: Accuracy
Part 140 Master data: Exchange of characteristic data: Completeness
Part 110 Master data: Exchange of characteristic data: Syntax, semantic encoding, and conformance to data specification
Part 150 Master data: Quality management framework
Part 311 Guidance for the application of product data quality for shape (PDQ-S)


There are further parts of ISO 8000 being developed, including ISO 8000 part 115, that deals with quality identifiers.

You can buy the standards either directly from the ISO store or from your national standards body.

Where can I find general information on ISO?

ISO has its own frequently asked questions page
ISO also provides an online browsing platform. This platform allows you to preview content before you buy a standard, or part of a standard, and also allows you to search within documents for content such as terms and definitions.