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EIDX Glossary

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This letter last updated 08 November 2002

Identifier - A character or group of characters used to identify or name an item of data and possibly to indicate certain properties of that data. [ISO 9735]

Information Hiding - A technique for reducing complexity by hiding non-essential details of an object or function.  Abstraction is used to identify which details are essential in a given context, and which details non-essential (especially if those non-essential details are common to more than one context).  Encapsulation is used to present information such that essential information is visible, and distracting non-essential details are "hidden".  Of course a detail that is non-essential in one context may be vital in another context, or may even be of interest (though still non-essential) in the current context, so those details are available.

  • Example:  The details about how an address is composed are the same across document types, and seeing that detail may be distracting when evaluating the data requirements for a particular document type.  In the abstraction process, it may be determined that all of the details (name1, name2, address1, address 2, etc.) are common to all addresses and non-essential to all document type definitions except Address Type, and can all be put together into a re-usable definition called Address.  So everything but is encapsulated  in the document type definition, and all you see in the list of requirements for the document type is Address and Address Type.  If you need to know what's contained in the address, you can go look up the definition of  Address to see its details.
  • Example:  In EIDX Replenishment Model 2, there's a step that says that if replenishment is required, the 'Release against a Blanket PO' activity should occur (Order Model 3A).  The details of Order Model 3A can be distracting when evaluating the overall replenishment scenario, so those details are "hidden" on  the activity diagram for the replenishment scenario.  If you need to see the details for the release process, you can go to Order Model 3A.

Information Model - A formal model of a bounded set of facts, concepts or instructions to meet a specified requirement [ISO 10303-1: 1994].  2) High level model of business activities that provides a reference for setting the requirements for a business processes.  3) A graphical representation of major data objects in an enterprise business context.  Data objects are represented as classes and subtypes.

Implicit representation - The technique whereby the location of a data segment is implied from its relative position within the message.

Independent Trading Exchange (ITE) - A business-to-business Web site that brings together buyers and sellers in vertical markets, horizontal markets, or both.

Indirect Goods - Products and services for general company operations rather than for specific manufacturing applications. Often, these items are considered less mission-critical than direct goods. Indirect goods are not resold or repackaged by the purchaser.

Instance - A single occurrence of something. 

  • Example: If a purchase order mapping program is created, each purchase order produced  using that same map is a purchase order instance.
  • Example:  If five separate change orders are created for to change one purchase order, that is five change order instances.  Each instance should have some sort of unique identification so that you can tell one instance from another.

Integration - Connecting hardware and/or software components from more than one system so that they operate as if part of a single system.  In B2B, we especially mean components from more than one company or organization. c.f. Application Interface Software, Back-end.

Integrity - State or quality of being complete, unbroken, undamaged, uncorrupted. In internet commerce, ensuring integrity refers to the process of ensuring that message content cannot be changed (intentionally or accidentally) or, if it is changed, that the change will be detected.  When a document is translated from one format to another, ensuring integrity refers to ensuring that there was no change to the semantic content (the meaning) of the business information in the document.

Intellectual Property (IP) - Ideas or knowledge and representations or ideas and knowledge (pictures, words, etc.)  that have real or perceived value.  An individual or organization may claim ownership of intellectual property by way of a copyright statement (©), a patent, or a trademark (registered (®) or unregistered (™)).  The owner may or may not charge fees or royalty payments for use of their intellectual property, often issued in the form of a license or electronic key.  When someone else's IP is used or referenced, proper acknowledgment of the source should be given regardless of whether a royalty fee has to be paid.

  • For eBusiness, intellectual property includes guidelines or specifications produced by organizations such as EIDX (copyrighted by CompTIA), RosettaNet, Open Applications Group (OAGI), etc.  There is a great deal of debate as to whether business processes can be copyrighted or patented, especially if the owner charges a fee for their use; proving origin of a business process is difficult.  There is less debate about whether contents of a standard's data dictionary can be copyrighted, or whether terms may be trademarked, but there is debate about whether an owner should charge fees or royalties for the IP if the owner claims that it is part of an "open" standard, open meaning that it is available to all without fee or that any fees or royalties are "reasonable and non-discriminatory" (RAND).

Intelligent agent - See agent.

Interactive - Back-and-forth response of operations, such as when a user enters a question to the computer and the computer responds immediately.

Interchange - The exchange of information from one company to another; communication between partners in the form of a structured set of messages and service segments starting with an interchange control header and ending with an interchange control trailer. [ISO 9735]

Interchange Control Structure - In an eCommerce transaction, coded information in the message that identifies the sender and receiver, provides information about the transaction, and facilitates the inclusion of authorization and security information.

Interchange Model - Describes the requirements for an exchange of information.  An Interchange Model is a projection of a Domain Model, which is another way of saying that a Domain Model is composed of all the interchanges in a domain.

Interchange Structure Definition - The definition of the characteristics and content of a transaction file to be interchanged between autonomous Business Information Systems while processing a Business transaction.

Interconnect Point - Allows 2 or more private networks to interconnect.

Interface - The connection between items of equipment and/or software.

Intermediary - An agent or third-party who facilitates activities between two parties.  Especially, an agent such as a distributor or reseller who facilitate the sales of one company's goods to end-customers.  See also Agent, Service Provider.

Internet - A worldwide system for linking computer networks of every size together. Networks connected through the Internet use a particular set of communications protocols to communicate, known as TCP/IP.

  • Often called the "Network of Networks" in which user at any computer can get information from any other computer. 
  • Transport vehicle for the information stored in files or documents on another computer.
  • Networks are interconnected with devices or software called "routers."

Internet Protocol - See TCP/IP.

Internet Service Provider (ISP) - Interface between network providers and dial-up customers, using routers and servers to handle network demand.

  • Many individuals who are "on the internet" are not connecting directly to the internet.  If you are using a dial-up phone number to connect to an ISP, that is, as the name suggests, a dial-up connection and not an internet connection.  You are connecting to an ISP, who are, in turn, connected to the internet, and are routing information between you and the net.
  • If you are connecting by using a DSL modem, you are making a direct connection to the internet with the help of your ISP.

Interoperability - The ability of hardware, software and/or business processes on one trading partner's machine to communicate with another trading partner's machine - to operate as if part of a single system.   A hardware or software component is described as being interoperable if trading partners can use it as-is, with little or no special effort required by either party.   The hardware and/or software components may have come from the same supplier or different suppliers.  Compare with portability.

Intranet - Local area network or a company network, accessed by anyone who is connected, that may or may not be connected to the larger Internet.  Also called "private network".

Inventory - Raw materials, component parts and items available for sale or in the process of being manufactured.

Inventory Shrinkage - Unexplained inventory loss, which may be the result of incorrect counts, misplacement of inventory, theft or some other cause.

Inventory Turns - The estimated number of times that an inventory holder's total stock is sold or consumed during the course of a year.  Turns are calculated by dividing cost of goods sold by average monthly inventory.  The result can be used to calculate average days of supply.  If the resulting number of terms is 2, this means inventory was completely cycled through twice, which means that the average inventory level was approximately 183 days of supply (365/2); if inventory turns comes out to 20, it means that inventory level has averaged 18 days of supply.  Higher turns means better cash flow because cash is not tied up in inventory sitting on a shelf and all the resources it takes to manage that inventory.

IP Address - Internet Protocol Address, uniquely identifies the location of something on the internet.

The IP address has two main parts:

  • The network portion - identifies the network the node is in.  To be part of the Internet, an networking organization needs an Internet network number, which it can request from the Network Information Center (NIC). You or your ISP register your address with InterNIC as both a name (whitehouse.gov), which is referred to as the domain name, and a number (198.137.240.100), which is generally referred to as the IP address or IP number.
    • Some organizations with a large network use subnet address to further manage their network.
  • The local or host part of the IP number, which may identify a specific node (specific computer, workstation, server, whatever).
    • Some nodes have a static IP address, which means the IP address is configured into the machine, used always for that machine, and used only for that machine.
    • Some organizations use dynamic IP addresses, meaning that the IP address is assigned from the organization's pool of addresses.  A machine is given an address from the pool each time it connects to the organization's network.  This is particularly useful for an organization that has a large number of nodes, most of whom don't all need to be connected at once.

ISDN- A telecommunications network that allows for digital voice, video and data transmissions.  It is said that it is eventually going to replace legacy POTS.  An ISDN connection currently requires an ISDN-specific adapter, sometimes referred to as an ISDN modem.  Sometimes a new phone line needs to be installed for ISDN.  ISDN is available in most urban locations in the U.S. and Europe.   ISDN connection speed goes up to 128 kilobytes per second, which is not that much better than dial-up.  The ISDN phone line typically costs more than an analog phone line, and, like POTS, charges are usually per minute charges.  However, prices are coming down.  While ISDN may become the standard for voice communications, DSL is rapidly overtaking it for internet connectivity.

ISO - International Organisation for Standardisation, based in Geneva.  It is a federation of national standards organisations. An international standardization body responsible for the development and maintenance of a broad range of international standards. The UN/EDIFACT Syntax Rules (ISO 9735) and Data Element Dictionary (ISO 7372) are maintained by ISO. Responsible for development of international data communications standards

ISO 7372 - A data element dictionary, of which the UN/EDIFACT data elements are a subset.  Jointly maintained by ISO and the United Nations.. ISO Trade Data Elements Directory, identical to sections 1, 2, 3, 4 and 9 of UNTDED.

ISO 9735 - A data element dictionary, of which the UN/EDIFACT data elements are a subset.  Jointly maintained by ISO and the United Nations. International Standard issued by ISO which reproduces the UN/EDIFACT Syntax Rules as agreed by WP.4.  The protocol for enveloping an EDIFACT message is specified in ISO 9735.