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EIDX Glossary

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This letter last updated 01 February 2003

E-mail - Method of exchanging private mail messages by way of a computer system. The messages are stored on a mutually shared system and users can send and receive messages at their own convenience. Used as both noun and verb.

eBusiness - The process of doing business electronically.  While "electronic commerce" describes the world of B2B commercial transactions, the term "eBusiness" usually refers to a broader scope of electronically-enabled activities, including B2C and B2P activities.  An eBusiness relationship with a partner implies tighter coupling that and the building virtual enterprises.

ECPA (Electronic Communications Privacy Act) - A federal statute that prohibits a third party from intercepting or disclosing communications. The Act applies to both government employees and private citizens, and it imposes both criminal and civil penalties for violation.

EDIFACT - EDI For Administration, Commerce and Transportation, an international standard for inter-industry electronic interchange of business transactions.

Electronic Commerce - End-to-end, paperless business environment that integrates electronic transfer and automated business systems. The conduct of business transactions, supporting functions such as, administration, finance, logistics, procurement and transportation, between entities using an integrated automated information environment to interchange business information.

'Electronic commerce' is an integrative concept, designed to draw together a wide range of business support services, including inter-organizational e-mail; directories; trading support systems for commodities, products, customized products and custom-built goods and services; ordering and logistic support systems; settlement support systems ; and management information and statistical reporting systems.  Some authors use the more restrictive terms 'electronic trading' and 'electronic markets', and others broader terms such as 'electronic business', known better as 'eBusiness'.

Electronic Commerce Modeling Language - Proposed guidelines for Web merchants that will enable digital wallets from multiple vendors to automate the exchange of information between buyers and merchants. More information is available on the ECML.org Alliance Web site.

Electronic Data Interchange (EDI)- The computer-to-computer transmission of data in structured, standardized formats.  Data is transferred between companies over a network, such as the internet or a VAN  EDI has a long history and there are many, many misconceptions about it.

Although today there are many syntaxes for traditional (pre-XML) EDI, only two are widely recognized: X12 and EDIFACT.

Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) - Transfer of money initiated through electronic terminal, automated teller machine, computer, telephone, or magnetic tape. Since the 1990s, this has also included transfer initiated via the World-Wide Web. The term also applies to credit card and automated bill payments.  You'll find a lot of people who say that their favorite EFT process is the one that deposits their salaries in their bank accounts.

Electronic Mailbox - The place where a transmission is stored for pickup or delivery within a third-party service provider system. Trading partners can also maintain mailboxes within their own domains.

Electronic Wallet- See Digital Wallet.

Elevator Pitch - The only thing more precarious than advertisements in airline magazines - a sales person's brief explanation of his or her company's product, or an entrepreneur's exposition on their business model and how it will save the world, usually aimed at someone who has influence on or control over the company checkbook, and usually given while that influential person is in an elevator and unable to escape the pitch.

eMarketplace - A Web site where goods and services are bought and sold over the Internet.

Emoticon - A way to describe emotion online.  Look at this with your head tilted to the left :-). There are scores of these emoticons, from grumpy to quizzical.  Also called Smiley.

Emulation - The process of using one software program to imitate the behaviors of another software program or piece of software.

Employer Identification Number (EIN) - Nine-position number issued by the Internal Revenue Service for tax purposes to identify corporations, partnerships, nonprofit associations, and trusts (United States).

Encapsulation - Enclosing one or more items within a container, especially, a way of packaging information in such a way as to hide what should be hidden and make visible what is intended to be made visible.   See also Abstraction and Information Hiding.

Encryption- Special coding process to make files inaccessible to unauthorized users. This process transforms clear text (data in its original form) into cipher text (encryption output of a cryptographic algorithm) for security or privacy. A password or private key is needed to decrypt the file for use. 

End-to-End Business Model - This term is used multiple ways.  1) The entire collection of business processes needed to produce product, from concept to obsolescence.  2) The entire path or flow of a particular scenario or component business process, from data entry in the sender's back-end application, through transmission and translation in gateways and/or third party VANs or ISPs, to processing and disposition in the receiver's back-end application, and back again (if applicable).  3)  The entire set of activities during the lifecycle of something, such as everything touches an order instance from the time it is created to the time it is closed.  4) The entire set of activities associated with managing a customer or supplier or other trading partner.

Enterprise Application Integration (EAI) - The use of middleware to integrate the application programs, data bases and legacy systems involved in an organization's critical business processes.   EAI applications are really an extension of legacy gateway applications, with provisions for tighter coupling with back-end applications than the legacy gateway solutions.

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) - Applications used by large organizations to manage inventory, resources, and business processes across departments in the enterprise.  ERP is a successor to MRP that brings into play all the business functions of an enterprise.  The next generation after ERP is the Virtual Enterprise.

Entity - A tangible or abstract thing of relevance to business about which data may be kept; a set of Entities/Object and their relationships, often in diagrammatic Relationship form Model . Example: Customer, Order.

Entity Reference - See Escape Sequence.

Envelope - The control records or segments which enclose transaction/message file(s) and are used to identify the nature of contents of the file (such as whether it's an order or a forecast, etc.), the origin, the destination, the content standard and version, and several other parameters.  The format of the envelope is usually specific to a data content standard and communications method.  The enveloping may be handled by the same software that handles the communications, or by the software used for mapping, or by a separate enveloping software

eProcurement - Buzzword for doing procurement activities via the internet.

Error Checking - Process of testing transmitted or received data to ensure data integrity and to ensure the that the data meets all partner-specific requirements.   The most efficient way to handle error checking is to use the chosen standard's dictionary for validation, then the mapping only has to evaluate that the fields that have requirements that are more restrictive than the standard, e.g. a field that is optional in the standard but required by one trading partner, or a field where the standard allows a certain number of characters but the a partner limits the use to fewer characters.

Escape Character - See Release Character, Escape Sequence, Delimiter

Escape Sequence - Like a Release Character, except that a sequence of characters are used to represent the original meaning of a character that otherwise has special meaning in a language.  Called "Escape sequence" because many computer languages begin such sequences with the Escape (ESC) key.  The term is also used colloquially for any sequence of characters performing this function.  See also Delimiter, Release Character.

  • Example:  In HTML and XML, both derivatives of SGML, tags begin and end with angle brackets, or less-than and greater-than signs ("<" and ">").  If the character "<" is needed in the data, with it's original meaning of "less-than", the character is represented by the string "&lt;" in the HTML or XML code.  The formal name in HTML/XML syntax is "Entity Reference," but only a hearty few regularly employ the formal term.   A list of special characters and the HTML/XML representation is included in the Character Sets Table.

Exchange - A business-to-business website where buyers and sellers congregate to transact business.  Although the term exchange has been used to talk about sites where information is exchanged, the term 'Exchange' is becoming commonly understood to mean a place where goods and services are exchanged.  An exchange is a type of Hub.

  • For expanded definition, click here.

Exponential Markets - eMarketplaces where each participant may both buy and sell goods and services.

Extended Enterprise - See Virtual Enterprise.

Extranet- An extension of an organization's intranet that has been selectively opened to limited audiences, such as a company's suppliers, customers, employees, or strategic allies, via the Internet, often using a Web-type interface.  Digital encryption, password access, or both generally secure Extranets.