Introduction to EDI - A Primer
8. Glossary of Terms
Accredited Standards Committee X12: The group authorized by the American National Standards Institute to develop and maintain the EDI Standards used in the United States. [See: ANSI; ANSI ASC-X12; American National Standards Institute]
American National Standards Institute: The national standards body for the United States. ANSI, through its accredited standards committees, keeps the standards for all applications of technology and mechanics for U.S. industry.
ANSI: Acronym for the American National Standards Institute.
ANSI ASC-X12: Acronym for the American National Standards Institute, Accredited Standards Committee X12.
Communications: The means of electronically linking two computers to exchange information in EDI.
Communication Software: Programs that allow computers to communicate through MODEMS. Some are capable of automatic communications, such as auto-dial and auto-answer
Data Dictionary: A listing of all the data elements, and sometimes the segments and messages, unique to the specific system of EDI Standards being used.
Data Element: One or more data items, forming a unit or piece of information as defined in the data dictionary of a system of EDI Standards, and contained in an EDI message or transaction set. The term "data element" is often abbreviated as "DE" followed immediately by the data element number (i.e., data element 128 would be abbreviated as DE128) in some texts
Data Element, Composite: Two or more related data items separated by a delimiter character, grouped together to form a unit or piece of information as defined in the data dictionary of a system of EDI Standards, and contained in an EDI message or transaction set.
DISA: Data Interchange Standards Association. This is the trade organization that acts as secretariat for ANSI ASC-X12 and the Pan-American EDIFACT Board in the United States.
Download: The process of receiving data from another computer at a remote site onto the computer under the control of the operator.
EDI: The standard abbreviation for Electronic Data Interchange.
Electronic Data Interchange: The computer-to-computer transfer of business transaction information using standard, industry accepted, message formats.
Electronic Mail: The process of sending, receiving, storing, and/or forwarding messages in digital form via telecommunication.
E-Mail: The standard abbreviation for Electronic Mail.End-User: Anyone who uses a computer system or its output.
Envelope: The combination of header, trailer, and sometimes other control segments, that define the start and end of an individual EDI message.
File: A collection of related records treated as a basic unit of storage in a computer system. Files are stored on magnetic storage media such as disks or tapes. There are many types of files in a computer's memory. Each program that the computer runs is written in a file that is then stored for later execution. Each database that the computer uses to store data that will be used by the programs to do their work is a file, or in some cases, a series of files that are read by the programs as they run.
File, flat: A computer file where all the information is run together in a single character string.
File Structure: The format into which a file is arranged by the computer, so that the information it contains can be retrieved on demand.
Functional Acknowledgment: An EDI message that is sent in response to the receipt of an EDI message or packet of messages to notify the sender of the original message that it was received. It acknowledges only the receipt of the message or message packet, and does not imply agreement with, or understanding of, its content.
Hardware: The physical parts of the computer system, viz.: CPU, tape drives, disk drives, modem, etc.
Header: The specific segment that, in simplest terms, tells the receiving computer where an individual EDI message starts.
Implementation: The act of starting an EDI system.
Implementation Guide: A publication listing the EDI messages that are in use in a particular industry or application, and indicates how the information in those messages should be presented on a segment by segment, and data element by data element basis, indicating which segments and data elements are needed, which ones need not be used, and what code values will be expected in the application of that particular message.
Industry Specific: Useful to only one particular group of companies grouped together by a common area of endeavor. In EDI, it refers to the ability of an EDI Standard to be used by only one industry.
ISO: Acronym for the International Standards Organization. An international organization, working with the United Nations, that maintains the standards for all applications of technology and mechanics for global industry.
Mailbox: A file storage area within a computer, usually one used by a Network Service Provider, where information is placed until it can be retrieved by the intended receiver.
Mapping: The act of determining what pieces of information in the company's database should be placed into each data element of an EDI message or transaction set, or in reverse, what data elements of an EDI message or transaction set should be placed into the company's database.
Message: A block of information in EDI, making up a business transaction, or part of a business transaction. In North America, this is normally called a transaction set. This term is used primarily outside North America, but is gaining favor there as well.
Message Standards: The system of syntax, data elements, segments, and messages (transaction sets) with which EDI will be conducted.
Modem: Short form of "Modulator/Demodulator." The electronic device that connects the computer to a telephone line to allow communications.
National Standards Body: The organization in a country that is tasked with keeping the standards for all applications of technology and mechanics for the industry of that country. Network: An electronic communications system that links computers together to allow EDI to take place.
Network Service Provider: A company that maintains a network, and offers its services and capabilities to others for a fee.
Paperwork: The documents that have been traditionally used to convey information in a business transaction.
Pilot: The process of testing a part of the final system as a gauge to determine the viability of the concept prior to implementing the entire system for full production. It takes the concept out of the realm of theory, and provides empirical knowledge of what can reasonably be expected of the ultimate system when it is fully implemented.
Pilot Project: A project conducted between two or more EDI trading partners to test the viability of a proposed EDI System.
Platform: The type of computer system being used.
Purchase Order: A document issued by a buyer to a seller that details the terms of sale under which the buyer will purchase the seller's goods.
Receiver: The party to whom the EDI message or transaction set is transmitted.
Segment: A part of an EDI message or transaction set, made up of a number of related data elements separated by a delimiter, conveying a part of the business transaction being made.
Segment Directory: A listing of the segments unique to the specific system of EDI Standards being used, and usually part of the data dictionary.
Seller: The party in a business transaction who sells goods or services to a buyer for good and valuable consideration.
Sender: The party who transmits the EDI messages.
Shipment Notification: An EDI transaction sent by the shipper of material to the receiver advising that the shipment has been sent, and providing details such as manifest, PO number, estimated time of arrival, carrier, and etc.
Software: The programs residing on disk, tape, or other storage media used by the computer to accomplish its tasks.
Standards: Something established for use as a rule or basis of comparison. In the context of EDI, this usually refers to the system of message standards that are in use between trading partners.
Standards Body: A committee, usually made up of representatives of the users of a given Standard, and either accepted by industry or charged by a government to maintain the Standards in question.
Standards, Proprietary: Those systems of EDI messages that are developed by the trading partners themselves for a specific application, and do not fit in any of the systems of Standards developed by any of the accepted Standards Bodies around the world.
Standards, Public: Those systems of EDI messages that are prepared and published by or through the accepted Standards Bodies around the world.
Syntax: The system for arranging data elements and segments within an EDI message or transaction set, as dictated by the Message or Transaction Set Standards being used
TDCC: Acronym for the Transportation Data Coordinating Committee. This is the original EDI organization for the United States. Through its efforts, the original EDI Standards were developed, published, and maintained. It has now changed its name to EDIA, and has become the national EDI user group for the United States. [See: EDIA]
Third-party: A party other than the sender or receiver, such as a Network Service Provider, or software developer providing goods or services, in this case in support of the transmission of information in EDI other than the sender or receiver.
Trading Partner: The entity with which EDI is carried on. This may be either the sender or the receiver of information in EDI.Trailer: The specific segment that, in simplest terms, tells the receiving computer where an individual EDI message ends.
Transaction Set: A block of information in EDI, making up a business transaction, or part of a business transaction. Outside North America, this is normally called a message.
Transaction Set Standards: The system of syntax, data elements, segments, and transaction sets (messages) with which EDI will be conducted.
Translator: A program used to convert information from flat file to EDI format, or from EDI format to flat file.
User: An entity, either an individual or a company, who utilizes a computer or system of standards for a specific purpose like EDI.
User Group: An organization of individuals and/or companies who come together to deal with the needs of those who wish to employ a technique or technology in a unified manner. User groups are discussion organizations.
UN/EDIFACT: Acronym for United Nations/Electronic Data Interchange For Administration, Commerce, and Transport, the international EDI Standard as developed through the United Nations.
Value-Added Network: A system where a network leases communication lines from a communications common carrier, enhances them by adding improvements such as error detection and/or faster response time, and then allows others to use this service on those lines for a fee. This is often abbreviated as VAN
VAN: Standard abbreviation for Value-Added Network.
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