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EIDX Glossary

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EIDX Collection of Acronyms and Abbreviations.



This letter last updated 09 November 2002

Machine Readable - Input in a format that the computer can read, such as bar codes that are scanned directly into the system to be used in an application. Also refers to the binary information stored onto magnetic media that the computer can access and read into the memory.

Mailbox - 1)  Area designated on a network system into which electronic mail messages are stored on disk. Each user has his or her own private mailbox area.  2) Storage facility within an EDI network service set aside for a specific user to hold that user's messages

Mandatory (M) - A statement in a dictionary, segment directory or message directory which specifies that a segment, a data element, a composite data element or a component data element must be used. [ISO 9735]

Manufacturer - A business or person that produces one or more products.   See also Component Supplier, Supplier, Reseller, Distributor.

Mapping - a/k/a Translation, Data Transformation, Conversion, Parsing.  The process of translating data from one format to another, using mapping software.  Mapping translates proprietary formats to standard formats and vice-versa, or translates one standard format to another standard format.

Mapping Software - a/k/a Translation Software.  Computer program or set of programs that transform data from one format to another.  Mapping software handles the mapping of a message's business  contents (the parts of the message contained inside the envelope).  The mapping software may handle the enveloping, but typically does not.  c.f. Communications Software, Gateway, Pass-thru, Translator.

Material Requirements Planning (MRP) - Methods and systems designed to determine what materials will be needed over a specified time horizon, and when they will be needed.  Demand for a product, in the form of a Master Production Schedule, and planning parameters for components, such as order lead times, is used to "explode" the Bill of Materials into a gross requirements, and then net out available inventory and inventory on order in order to determine what else needs to be procured or fabricated.  MRP also looks at open orders - anticipated available inventory - to determine if any rescheduling is recommended.   MRPII is next step, and integrates capacity planning and shop floor control, and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) is the next generation planning tool.

Maximum use - Specifies the maximum number of occurrences allowed for a data element, composite data element, segment or a loop which maybe repeated.

mCommerce - Was used to desribe manual commerce, but often used now to describe mobile commerce, such as via a mobile phone or PDA.

Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF) - Average amount of time, usually described in thousands or tens of thousands of hours, that elapses before a hardware component fails to the point of requiring ser vice.

Media (plural form of Medium) - Physical material, such as paper, disks, and tapes, used to store computer- related information.

Meet Competition Quote - Used to designate a meet competitor pricing ("meet comp") or delivery quote.  This quote is the more complex of the quote types.  A meet comp quote is used by the buyer to inquire to a supplier if he/she is willing to lower his/her price, or make a delivery to make a sale.  This is used primarily between a distributor and a supplier.  The distributor is asking the supplier to lower its price in-line with another supplier of a comparable product to make the sale.  This may be after the product has already been shipped to the distributor.  This is more complex because of the transaction interaction that is described in Implementation Recommendations for Quote Processes.  It may require information about who is the competition, what is their price, and how can their price be verified.  The special authorized price is also called an "off book price".   See also Ship-from-Stock and Debit.

Message - Unit of information in a communications environment that is transmitted electronically from one device to another; transmission. There are several connotations of the term.

  • In electronic mail, a message is a note from another user, organized similar to a memorandum (TO, FROM, SUBJECT, DATE) and received in an electronic mailbox.
  • To a computer or a communications network, a message is a transmission unit that transmits according to certain rules (protocols) that are followed by both the sending and receiving devices. A message can contain one or more blocks of text as well as beginning and ending characters, control characters, a software-generated header (destination address, type of message, and other such information), and error-checking or synchronizing information.
  • In software, a message is a piece of information passed from the application or the operating system to the user to suggest an action that must be taken, to indicate a condition, or to inform that an event has occurred.
  • In EDIFACT, a message is the collection of data, organized in segments, exchanged between partners. Also called a document or transaction data set. It contains the data for any transaction mutually agreed by the trading partners.  Specifically, a message is an ordered series of characters intended to convey information. [ISO 2382/16].   According to UN/EDIFACT a set of segments in the order specified in a message directory starting with the message header and ending with the message trailer. [ISO 9735] Equivalent to a transaction set.  The ASC X12 synonym is Transaction Set.

Message Code - In EDIFACT, a unique six character alphabetic reference identifying a message type, e.g. ORDERS for Purchase Order.

Message Diagram - A graphic representation of the hierarchy and sequence of segments or records within a message.

Message Directory - A listing of identified, named, described and specified message types. (EDMD, TRMD)

Message Header - 1) Sequence of bits or bytes at the beginning of a message that usually provides a timing sequence and specifies such aspects pertaining to the message structure as its length, data format, and block identification number.  2) Service segment starting and uniquely identifying a message. [ISO 9735]

Message Status - A formal status given to UN/EDIFACT standard messages by the UN/ECE/WP.4. During UN/EDIFACT standards development, messages and standards are progressed through various stages of development and granted various status.  See Status 0, Status 1, and Status 2

Message Switching - Technique used on some communications networks in which a message, with appropriate address information, is routed through one or more switching stations before being sent to its destination. On a typical message-switching network, a central computer receives messages, stores them (usually briefly), determines their destination addresses, and then delivers them to the appropriate party. Message switching enables a network to regulate traffic and to use communications lines efficiently.

Message Trailer - The service segment ending a message. [ISO 9735]

Message Type - An identified and structured set of data elements covering the requirements for a specified type of transaction, e.g. invoice. [ISO 9735]

Meta-data - Data about data.  See Data Dictionary.

Metamodel - A model that defines the language for expressing a model.  For EIDX, the metamodel would be the specification of the process used for building EIDX models and scenarios, described in the Clickable Business Models Legend.  Synonyms include "ontology," "schema," "semantic information model."

Metrics - A numeric measure of data that is used to evaluate entities or people.

Middleware - Software that provides a link between disparate applications, particularly software that links an application to a gateway or network.  Most commonly used to link data bases.  Middleware applications can exchange data directly with the back-end application system data base, theoretically eliminating the need to change the application to enable integration between the application system and the gateway.  This is described as "eliminating" the need for Application Integration Software, but in actuality middleware is the application integration software.

  • Example:  A middleware application links a database system to a web server, allowing users to request data from the data base using forms displayed on a web browser; it enables the web server to return dynamic web pages based on the user's requests and profile.  The middleware allows the data base to be changed without necessarily affecting the client, and vice versa.

Mirror Site - An internet site set up as a backup for a really busy site.  It contains copies of all the files on the primary site.  A mirror sites can spread the traffic load. Extremely busy sites may have several mirror sites.

Mission Critical - An process, system, component, service, or asset that absolutely has to work, or the entire mission of a project or organization fails.  The term originated with NASA, who used it to describe the critical elements of the space program.  In 1998, in regards to Y2K, Gartner defined "mission critical" as "any business dependency which, if it were to fail, would cause any of the following: 

1) a shutdown of business, production or product delivery operations
2) a health hazard to individuals
3) considerable revenue loss
4) significant litigation expense or loss
5) significant loss of customers or revenue"

  • Example:  A human being cannot live if the heart and/or the brain fail; the heart and the brain are mission critical components of a human being.

MRO - Stands for Maintenance, Repair, and Operating equipment and services necessary to run an office but not directly involved in the manufacture of the company's product(s).

Modem - Shortened form of modulator/demodulator, a communications device that enables a computer to convert data and send and receive it through regular phone lines. Modems can transfer data at varying baud rates; in 2001, a 56.6K baud rate is a common upper limit.  Modems contain such built-in features as automatic phone dialing, auto answering, and redialing capabilities.

  • There are many modem communications protocols.  Some modem protocols are proprietary, but most are standard analog modem protocols and digital modem protocols, and are specified by the Telecommunication Standardization Sector of the International Telecommunications Union.   Most modern modems support multiple communications protocols.

Multiplicity - UML term for cardinality.

Multipurpose Internet Mail Extension (MIME) - An e-mail protocol that enables the transmission of non-ASCII messages over the internet.  It is an extension of SMTP.  MIME is what allows you to include different kinds of files as attachments, such as images, presentations, and formatted documents.