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EIDX Glossary

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This letter last updated 01 February 2003

Daemon - A background program that runs on a computer expecting to receive requests from other computers to perform some action.  For example, an HTTP daemon runs on a web server, just waiting for someone's browser (an HTTP client) to send a request.  If the request is valid (e.g. well-formed HTML was used to generate the request), the daemon interprets the request and forwards it to the appropriate program or process.

Data - A representation of facts, concepts or instructions in a formalized manner suitable for communication, interpretation or processing by human beings or by automatic means. [ISO 9735]

Data attribute - Structure information that establishes the context of the data and gives it meaning. Also used to refer to the descriptive structure information of a field in a data record.

Data compression - Process by which the contents of a data file are changed to enable the information to take up less disk space. This procedure eliminates repeating items in the data and has a code to show different lengths for certain character sequences. Data compression can make a regular text file about half its original size.

Data Confidentiality - Security, policies, and practices, which assure that data collected by or offered to a Web site will be held in confidence.

Data Dictionary - A repository that stores meta-data (data about data).  A data dictionary can typically stores field names, their descriptions/semantic meaning, relationships among fields, origin, usage, field types, sizes and formats, and so on.  A data dictionary can also store aliases. data models, record layouts, data flows, data structures, and other attributes.

Data Element - Basic units of information in the standards containing a set of values that represents a singular fact. They may be single-character codes, literal descriptions, numeric values, or may have a specific size, type, and range.

  • A unit of data which, in a certain context, is considered indivisible. [ISO 2382/4]
  • UN/EDIFACT says a unit of data for which the identification, description and value representation have been specified. [ISO 9735]

Data element attribute - A defined characteristic of a data element.

Data element directory - A listing of identified, named and described data element attributes, with specifications as to how the corresponding data element values shall be represented. [ISO 9735]

Data element length - Range, minimum to maximum, of the number of character positions available to represent the value of a data element. A data element may be of variable length with range from minimum to maximum, or it may be of fixed length in which the minimum is equal to the maximum.

Data element name - One or more words in a natural language identifying a data element concept. [ISO 9735]

Data element reference number - Reference number assigned to a data element as a unique identifier.

Data element representation - The format of a data item.  Examples:

  • "yyyymmdd" for date representation
  • "last, first" for representation of a name

Data element requirement designator - Code defining the need for a data element value to appear in the segment if the segment is transmitted. The codes are mandatory (M), operational (O), or conditional(C).

Data element separator - A character used to separate data elements in a variable length data segment. [ISO 9735]

Data element tag - A unique identifier for a data element in a data element directory. [ISO 9735]

Data element type - Data element may be one of six types

  • numeric
  • decimal
  • identifier string
  • date
  • time

Data element value - The specific entry of an identified data element represented as specified in a data element directory.

Data Exchange Service Provider - A third party that performs gateway functions as a service.  A company using a DESP generates or receives whatever file formats are built natively into the back-end application to the DESP, who performs the conversion (translation/mapping/parsing), validation, and routing to or from trading partners, including managing partner profiles.  Most VANs have always offered these types of services.

Data integrity - Accuracy of file data. Data integrity ensures that the data are pure and not corrupted.

Data link - Actual connection through which data can be transferred from one computer device to another. This type of link is used to connect any two or more devices that have the capability to send or receive data.

Data Maintenance (DM) - Term used to describe the X12 processes of evaluating, approving and recording revisions to the standards based on Work Requests. DM is the term used to identify a Work Request after a DM number has been assigned. See Work Request, DM Number.

Data Mart - See expanded definition of Repository.

Data Mining - A Business Intelligence method that looks for hidden patterns in data to allow the building detailed profiles that may or not be sold to third parties.   Also refers to solutions that perform data mining processes.

Data transfer - Process of moving data from one physical location to another either through internal means in a computer by transferring data from memory to disk, disk to tape, or hard disk to floppy, or through external means by transferring data between computers on a network or through a communications link.

Data unit - A segment, segment group, composite data element, data element as defined in a directory and its message type specifications.

Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) - Nine-position company identification code issued by the Dun and Bradstreet Corporation to identify businesses in its automated files.

Data Warehouse - See expanded definition of Repository.

Date/Time Stamp - To append or attach a digital notation, such as a signature or certificate, which indicates the date, time, and identity of the person appending or attaching the notation.

Decision Support System (DSS) - Software designed to aid in decision making; the architecture generally relies on one or more data bases that feed into a specialized data warehouse that captures information that will be queried and analyzed.  See also Business Intelligence.

  • For DSS purposes, "real time" is a myth
  • To achieve proper synchronization between event and state data, file creation must occur when the system is stable, and preferably at rest
    • That usually means nightly backup time
    • Which happens in 24 different global time zones
    • Which means you are doing well to produce a global, synchronized portrait of the supply chain every 24 hours

Decryption - Decoding of encrypted or specially coded information to allow use of the data in a normal manner. This is a form of guarding information to help ensure limited access.

Dedicated line - See leased line.

Delimiter - A character used for syntactical separation of data. [ISO 9735]  Also known as a separator character or service character.  A delimiter marks the beginning or end of a string of data.  It may be a single character or a string of characters.  To avoid misinterpretation, the character used as the delimiter should not be part of the data stream itself.  If the delimiter must be used for its original purpose as part of the data, a Release Character may be used if the syntax rules of the given computer language allow it.  In HTML/XML  "Escape Sequences" are used.  See also the Character Sets Table.

Demand - Information concerning forecasted or firm requirements over a future time period; represents what a customer wishes to purchase and implies that the customer has the means to make the purchases.  The reason that business processes are as complex as they are (see Order Model 1, for instance) is that demand and supply are virtually never in balance.

Denial of Service Attack - One, or a series of illegal actions on the part of hackers that prevent access to Web sites, in effect shutting the site down temporarily.

Depositor - One who deposits something into an account.  Used in logistics to describe a party (client) that contracts with a third-party warehouse to manage their inventory.  The term "depositor" applies regardless of who physically deposits inventory into the warehouse; if a buyer contracts with a third-party warehouse, the buyer is the depositor, even though the seller launches the physical shipment to the warehouse.  Just as an employee may have her employer directly deposit her pay into her bank accounts, from the bank's perspective the employee is the depositor - the owner of the account.

Design Win - From a broad perspective, a "design win" has been achieved whenever a customer, prospective customer or customer's agent (such as a distributor) notifies a supplier that its product has been selected for integration into the customer's product.  At this broader level, there are usually financial incentives involved beyond the securing of the customer's business.   More specifically, "design win" refers to a program whereby a supplier offers financial incentives in the form of bonuses, rebates, Ship-from-Stock and Debit authorizations and/or off book pricing when its product is designed into another company's product and agreed upon sales quotas or other conditions are met.  If the supplier is working directly with the end-customer, the supplier's sales force achieves the "design win" when the customer designs in the product; the customer gets financial awards in the form of rebates, debit authorizations and/or special pricing once conditions for incentives are met; if a distributor is brokering the design work, the distributor achieves the "design win" when the distributor's customer designs in the supplier's product, and financial awards realized when the conditions for incentives are met.  See EIDX Distributor Scenario 2 - Design Win.

Dial-up Service - A connection which uses the public telephone network to make a connection to a network.  If you are using an analog modem connected to your telephone line to connect to an ISP, you are not making an internet connection directly.  You are connecting to the ISP's network, and issuing commands to the ISP's server, through a shell, and the ISP's server communicates with the internet connections for you.  The good news is that dial-up is almost universally available.  However, while analog modems today can deliver speeds up to 56.6 kilobytes per second, which is fine for a casual user, it is too slow for a power user wanting to download large files or a telecommuter or business wanting to use on-line remote collaboration tools.  Many people are replacing dial-up connections with ISDN or DSL.  Large companies with high internet traffic volumes are increasingly returning to leased lines for communicating with VANs and ISPs.  Dial-up connection types include PPP and SLIP.

Digital Certificate - A password protected file that includes information, including the holder's public encryption keys, that can be used to verify the Digital Signature of the holder.  Digital certificates are issued by certificate authorities, and are valid only for a limited time period.  The digital certificate itself contains the digital signature of the certificate authority, so that the recipient can verify that the certificate is real.

Digital Communications - A method of transmitting signals where data is represented by binary digits - zeroes and ones - making all signals fixed-length.  Opposite of analog.

Digital Envelope - The encrypted private key used to decode an accompanying encrypted message, such as financial information necessary to transact an on-line purchase order. The sender's software first randomly generates the private key and uses it to encrypt the data, and then encrypts the private key itself using the recipient's public key. The message and digital envelope (the encrypted key) are sent to the recipient. The recipient uses his/her private key to decrypt the message envelope and then uses the decrypted private key to decode the actual message.

Digital Marketplace - See eMarketplace.

Digital Signature - A digital code that authenticates - uniquely identifies - the sender. Digital signatures can be attached to electronic purchase orders, contracts, email, etc. They were awarded legal status in the United States in July 2000.  See also Digital Certificate.

Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) - A technology that uses existing copper wiring found in almost every home or office to provide a high-speed connection to the internet.  DSL can also be used to connect to a LAN.  Special hardware is attached at both ends of the line to allow data to transmit over the wires at a far greater speed than the normal analog speed of your POTS.  A DSL is convenient for individual households and small offices in that you only need one phone line to carry both voice and data signals.

  • The technology differs from ISDN lines in that it can send both analog and digital signals over a single phone line.  ISDN is digital only and has to convert analog voice phone calls to digital signals.  With DSL, analog and digital signals can coexist because analog signals for voice communications only require a fraction of the copper wires that make up a phone line.  The limitation of the analog signal carried on those wires, not the wires, has kept phone lines from delivering greater data transfer speeds.  Sending digital signals over copper wires breaks that barrier.  When you install DSL, you put a special filter on the lines connected to telephones which filters out the signals being used for DSL.
  • PPP is a commonly used protocol to create the connection between your DSL modem and your ISP.  However, with PPP connection speeds vary, so some people prefer the fixed speed of an ISDN or T1 line.

Digital Wallets - Electronic commerce software that holds confidential information in hidden form, often used in conjunction with electronic payment methods.

Direct Goods - Raw materials for specific manufacturing operations, the purchase of which is usually considered "mission-critical," and is often handled by computerized resource planning systems and specific procurement personnel.

Directory Version - An indication of the issue of a Directory. 

Disaster Recovery Plan - In business computing, a plan that describes what to do to keep the business running in the event of a disaster.  Business functions are categorized so that the most critical applications and processes are recovered the soonest.  Disaster Recovery Plans may include details for bringing processes back online at another location, and include details about hardware and software requirements, and step-by-step instructions for the recovery.

Disintermediation - The process that occurs when a business removes intermediaries, such as brokers, distributors, and agents, and replaces the channel with direct selling to customers.  See also Re-intermediation.  This has occurred as manufacturers have discovered why they used intermediaries in the first place:  The customer service resources needed multiply with the number of orders handled, and direct sales means not only handling the big orders from the golden goose customers, but also handling many small orders, shipping, returns, complaints, etc.

Dispersed Semantic Unit (DSU) - A data component in a traditional EDI syntax such as EDIFACT or X12. There are two kinds of Dispersed Semantic Units:

  • Data carriers (which contain the actual data)
  • Qualifiers (which are codesets adding meaning to the value of the data carrier).

When the meaning of values of a series of qualifiers are applied additively against a Data Carrier, the meaning of the value of the data carrier can be related to a BSU.

Distributor - A business that buys, warehouses, ships, invoices and resells; a party that acts as an intermediary in order and inventory management.  Distributors in high-tech industries also perform some of the same value-add services handled by Value-Added Resellers, such as device configuration and/or programming, and systems configuration (postponement).  Often Distributors have a franchise relationship with one or more suppliers.   Component Suppliers often use the services of Distributors to sell their products.  The Component Supplier may have their sales departments focus on a few big accounts, and have the distributor manage many medium-to-small accounts.  See also Manufacturer, Supplier.

Document - A data carrier and the data recorded on it, that is generally permanent and that can be read by man or machine. [ISO 2382/4].

  • In the legacy world:  A set of text and/or graphical data organized and formatted for direct human interpretation; the record of an event or thing, such as an invoice.
  • In the high tech world: Data about an event or thing captured electronically in one or more non-executable files.

Document Object Model (DOM) - 1) An API for handling the parsing (mapping/translating) or interpreting of an XML file.  It is an alternative to the Simple API for XML (SAX).  Both have advantages and disadvantages.  See more under XML Parsing.  2) All the objects that make up a web site - HTML pages, images, scripts, etc. - are sometimes referred to as the site's Document Object Model.

Document Type Definition (DTD) - A type of file that information about how markup tags should be interpreted in an associated XML or SGML document.  DTD files have some weaknesses in that they can't accurately represent data types and conditions.  DTDs for XML are slowly being superceded by XML Schema.

Domain - 1) A sphere of knowledge.  A domain expert is someone who has extensive knowledge and understanding of a given domain, e.g. a Order Management domain expert.  2) In mathematics and database management, the range of valid values for a field.  3)  A subdivision of the internet; a grouping of computers.  The domain is identified in the last part of an Internet URL or internet e-mail address, such as ""  Without domain name registrations, you would have to remember each website's IP address.  For example, to access the U.S. White House, you'd have to type "," and to access EIDX, you'd have to type ""  Domain names allow you to use easier-to-remember addresses.

  • The Top Level Domain is the very last and most important portion of the internet address.  For non-U.S. addresses, the top level domain identifies the country, and the next level domain identifes the status of the organization.  In the U.S., the top-level domain generally identifies the status of the organization.  Multinational companies usually use the U.S. domain nomenclature.  Examples"
    • .uk = United Kingdom
    • = Commercial Business, United Kingdom
    • .com = Commercial Business (U.S. or multinational)
    • .edu = Educational Institution
    • .org = Non-profit Organization
    • .mil = U.S. Military
    • .gov = With no second-level domain identifier, refers to U.S. Government
    • = California Government
    • .net = Network Operators
  • The Domain Name the part of the internet address that identifies the owning organization. qualified by the Top Level Domain identifier.
    • EIDX's domain name is ""
    • The domain name "" is unclaimed

Domain Model - 1) Describes all the functions and methods, objects, classes, data (instances), requirements, relationships (associations, constraints) and variations (e.g. supply chains, geographies, processes, roles) in a specific domain.  A domain model addresses the requirements for a wide range of business processes.  See also Interchange Model.

Domain Name Server (DNS) - This type of server maps TCP/IP numbers such as to a more easily remembered name, such as  Thus, when you type into your browser, it goes out to the DNS server you specified when you installed dial-up networking (or TCP/IP services if you have direct internet connection) and searches for a matching TCP/IP address. If it finds a DNS entry for the name you typed in, you see the EIDX web site.  If not, an error message is returned to your browser window.  Every domain name on the web has a corresponding TCP/IP address that maps to the actual Web site. When you set up a site, you have your ISP add a DNS entry to their DNS servers. This entry gets replicated across the internet in a matter of hours, and, once fully replicated, you can reach your Web site from any Internet connection in the world.

Dot - In the not too distant past, when you wanted to impress the net veterans you meet at parties, you said "dot" instead of "period," for example: "My address is John at Snazzy-Startup dot com."   These days, of course, being in dot com doesn't particularly impress anyone on this planet ;-)

Down - When a public-access site runs into technical trouble, and you can no longer gain access to it, it's down.  If the site is up, but your machine won't boot up, it's you that's down.

Download - Copy a file from a host system to your computer.  Also refers to the process of transmitting a program from a host or main computer to another computer at a remote site.

Draft Proposed American National Standard (DPANS) - An X12 Draft Standard for Trial Use which has been approved by the developing subcommittee, the ASC X12 Steering Committee, and the Procedures Review Board as a candidate for American National Standard status. Notification to ANSI of such approval initiates a public review process which, after comment resolution, leads to publication of a new or revised American National Standard.

Draft Standard For Trial Use (DSTU) - An X12 standard developed under ANSI Procedures for the Development and Coordination of American National Standards and approved by ASC X12 for publication and trial use implementation. Following this trial-use period, the DSTU, revised as necessary, may be submitted to ANSI for approval as an American National Standard (ANS).

Drop Ship - A process where a buyer places an order with a supplier for goods that are to be delivered to a third party.  All the financial transactions are handled by the buyer and supplier.  Goods marked for drop-ship should not affect the buyer's inventory counts.

  • Example:  An manufacturer's customer may order a repair/replacement part, and the manufacturer may send an order to the supplier indicating that the part should be shipped directly to the manufacturer's customer.
  • Example:  An OEM may outsource assembly of a product to a contract manufacturer.  The OEM may order component parts from their supplier and have them drop-shipped to the contract manufacturer.

Due Diligence - Exercising judgment, care, prudence, and activities that a person would be reasonably expected to perform under particular circumstances, usually when transacting business.

Dynamic Call - An on-line catalog where prices are continuously updated, sometimes in direct response to market price-points.