What is an Open Technical Dictionary (OTD)?

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Article adapted from ISO 22745-2:2009(E)

An open technical dictionary (OTD) is a collection of terminology defined by and obtained from consensus bodies such as ISO, IEC, and other groups that have a consensus process for developing terminology. An OTD contains terms, definitions, and images of concepts used to describe individuals, organisations, locations, goods and services. Within ISO 22745, an item is described through membership in a class and a set of property-value pairs.

An Open Technical Dictionary:

  • allows information to be unambiguously defined and exchanged between multi-national partners without loss of meaning;
  • supports synchronisation of databases with minimum data mapping requirements;
  • provides transparent information flow among multiple information formats and specifically between government and commercial systems;
  • provides timely and accurate data that can be used to support finance and accounting processes;
  • supports cost-effective sourcing;
  • supports inventory management and rationalisation;
  • provides for both commercial and intra-governmental transactions;
  • supports multiple units of measure and international currencies;
  • supports multiple classifications and multiple languages.

Each OTD will have a globally unambiguous identifier for each concept and provide a reference back to the original source for terminology (terms, definitions and images). OTDs are designed to link terms and definitions with the same semantic content and to reference the original source of each term and definition. Thus, OTDs are intended not to duplicate existing standards, but to provide comprehensive collections of terminology used to describe individuals, organisations, locations, goods and services.

There are two important features of an OTD:

  • Any consensus organisation can submit terminology for inclusion in an OTD
  • ISO 22745 does not establish a new process for standardising terminology.