EDI Glossary

A comprehensive alphabetical list of EDI terms you may come across.


Abstract Data Type: a mechanism provided by Extensible Markup Language schemas to force substitution for a particular element type. When an element or type is declared to be ‘abstract’ it cannot be used in an instance document. A member of that element’s substitution group must appear in the instance document.

Accredited Standards Committee X12: The group authorized by the American National Standards Institute to develop and maintain the EDI Standards used primarily in the United States. (See also: ANSI; ANSI ASC-X12; American National Standards Institute).

Acknowledgement: In the global data synchronization process, this is an Extensible Markup Language response to a command returned to the originator. Every command needs a response. Acknowledgement messages are standardized and may contain the following information: confirmation of message receipt, success/failure of processing for syntax and content, or reason code for each type of failure.

ACH: Automated Clearing House.

Active Tag: A class of RFID tag that contains a power source, such as a battery, to power the microchip’s circuitry. Active tags transmit a signal to a reader and can be read from 100 feet or more.

Advance Ship Notice (ASN): An electronic version of a printed packing slip that tells a buyer that goods have been shipped, how they have been packed items and the estimated arrival time. Also referred to as a Delivery Notice or Dispatch Advice.

AES: Advanced Encryption Standard. One of a number of standards for securing data during transmission by encrypting it.

American National Standards Institute (ANSI): 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. Business documents in the U.S are often referred to by their ANSI code such as 850 (PO), 810 (Invoice) and 856 (ASN).

ANA: Article Number Association, an association of businesses set up to facilitate standardization across the supply chain.

ANSI ASC X12: American National Standards Institute, Accredited Standards Committee X12, which comprises government and industry members who create EDI standards for submission to ANSI for approval and dissemination.

ANX: The IP-based network for the US automotive industry.

AANX: The IP-based network for the Australian automotive industry.

Application Acknowledgment: A transaction set whose purpose is to return a response to a transaction set that has been received and processed in an application program. For example, the Purchase Order Acknowledgment transaction is used to respond to the Purchase Order transaction with content such as whether the receiver can fulfill the order and if it can be done on time.

Application Advice: A transaction set that accepts, rejects or identifies errors in the content of any transaction set beyond normal syntax checks.

Application Interface Software: Software that imports and exports data between in-house applications and the translation software.

AS1: Applicability Statement (AS) 1. A protocol developed by the IETF to implement secure and reliable messaging over SMTP.

AS2: Applicability Statement (AS) 2. A newer protocol developed by the IETF to implement secure and reliable messaging over HTTP. Allows data to be sent over the Internet using the HTTP protocol.

AS3: Applicability Statement (AS) 3. The most recent protocol developed by the IETF to implement secure and reliable messaging over FTP.

AS4: Applicability Statement (AS) 4. Offers secure B2B document exchange using web services. AS4 was developed by the sub-committee of the OASIS ebXML.

ASN: See Advance Ship Notice.

Asynchronous: A communication technique by which each character is sent bit-serially and is surrounded by start and stop bits used to indicate character borders.

Attribute: A term used to describe a characteristic of an item. An attribute would hold a value to describe a characteristic such as pack height, length or width.

Audit trail: A computerized or manual record of transactions.

Authentication: A mechanism that allows the receiver of an electronic transmission to verify the sender and the integrity of the content of the transmission through the use of an electronic “key” or algorithm shared by the business partners. The algorithm is sometimes referred to as an electronic or digital signature.


BAI: A Financial Services Group responsible for defining the Cash Management Balance Reporting Specifications. BAI1 and subsequently BAI2 were defined as the basis for agreement between a bank and its corporate customer on how data from the bank’s account processing software would be communicated to the customer’s account processing software.

Bar Code: An array of’ rectangular marks and spaces in a predetermined pattern. Usually used for automatic product or shipment identification.

Batch Control Totals: Ensures that batch processing has been performed correctly by comparing output to currency or quantity totals, record or document counts, or hash totals.

Batch Processing: The processing of computer information after it has accumulated in one group or batch.

Baud: The rate at which the signal changes when data is transmitted. It is often the same as the number of bits per second.

Bill of Lading: A document that is used by a vendor and a freight carrier that describes the freight classification of the goods being shipped by the vendor.

Binary: A system of numerical notation in which only the values of 0 and 1 are used.

Bisynchronous: A communication protocol whereby messages are sent as blocks of characters. The blocks of data are checked for completeness and accuracy by the receiving computer.

Business Document: A set of information components that are interchanged as part of a business activity.

Business Partner: The entity with which EDI business documents are exchanged. This may be either the sender or the receiver of information in EDI.

Business Partner Agreement: In RosettaNet, Business Partner Agreements contain the general contract terms and conditions, participant roles (buyers, sellers), communication and security protocols, and business processes (valid actions, sequencing rules, etc.). Extensible Markup Language-based Business Partner Agreement documents capture the essential information upon which business partners must agree in order for their applications and business processes to communicate.

Business Process: A set of related activities that, when correctly performed, will satisfy an explicit business goal.

Business Process Modelling: Also called ‘as is’ modelling, a component of the RosettaNet concept development used to identify the elements of a business process and create a clearly defined model of business partner interfaces as they exist today.

Business to Business (B2B): The practice of buying and selling between companies through the use of electronic transactions.

Business to Business (B2B) Integration: The secured coordination of business information among companies and their information.


CEDI: The Common EDI Forum, which has developed a set of message implementation guidelines for the UK’s grocery industry.

CEFACT: Also known as UN/CEFACT. The United Nations Center for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business.

CONTRL: A message which is the EDIFACT equivalent of the Functional Acknowledgement (FA).

CPFR: Collaborative Planning, Forecasting and Replenishment. An industry initiative focused on improving the partnership between manufacturers and distributors/retailers through shared information.

Classifier: A term used to describe how items such as products are grouped.

Clearing House: A third party used for centralizing the sending and receiving of electronic messages or documents between business partners. Messages/documents are held by the third party until the receiver is available to receive them.

Communications: The means of electronically linking two computers to exchange information.

Communication Software: Programs that allow computers to communicate through modems. Some are capable of automatic communications, such as auto-dial and auto-answer.

Compliance Checking: Checking process used to ensure that a transmission complies with ANSI X12 syntax rules (US).

Conditional (C): A data element requirement designator that indicates that the presence of a specified data element is dependent on the value or presence of other data elements in the segment. The condition must be stated and must be able to be computer-processed.

Confirmation: A notification that the transmission has been received by the intended receiver. [See also Functional Acknowledgment].

Consumer Packaged Goods: Consumer packaged goods are consumable goods such as food, beverages, footwear, and apparel, tobacco, and cleaning products.

Continuous Replenishment Program: The concept of continuous supply of goods between supplier and business partner based on automated exchange of current demand, inventory, and stock management information, within the framework of an agreed supply policy. The aim of continuous replenishment is to achieve a responsive and precise flow of product to the store with minimum stock holding and handling.

Control Envelope: Used to validate the receipt of correct and complete data.

Control Number: Also known as reference number. An identification number used to distinguish a standard data element (data element identifier) or a standard segment (segment identifier).

Control Segment: A control segment that has the same structure as a data segment but is used for transferring control information for grouping data segments.

Control Structure: The beginning and end (header and trailer) segments for entities in EDI.

Control Validation: Confirmation that information within the control segments is correct.


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.

Data Segment: Intermediate unit of information in a message. A segment consists of a pre-defined set of functionally related data elements which are identified by sequential position within the set.

Data Segment Directory: Publication that shows the format of all segments in the standard.

Data Synchronization: Data synchronization is the electronic transfer of standardized product and location information between business partners and the continuous synchronization of that data over time.

Data pool: a GDSN-compliant mechanism for business partners to share and synchronize data. As well as storing product data, a data pool provides the necessary functions and workflow to communicate with the GLOBALRegistry and with other data pools.

Decryption: The translation of scrambled or secretly coded data at the receiving end of an encrypted transmission (See also Encryption).

Dedicated Line: A point-to-point line in a data communication system between two computer devices that is always connected.

Default Settings: Instructions to a computer, automatically establishing standard configurations at the time of log on. They eliminate the need to reconfigure at each sitting.

DELFOR: Delivery Forecast message.

Delivery Notice: European term for an ASN.

Delimiters: Integral part of the transferred data stream, they consist of two levels of separators and a terminator. Delimiters are specified in the interchange header. From highest to lowest level, the separators and terminator are:- segment terminator, data element separator, and component element separator (used only in EDIFACT).

Delivery Trailer Manifest: A list of shipments contained on a less-than-truckload trailer ready for delivery. The list includes information relevant to the delivery of the shipments loaded in the trailer, such as pro number, equipment identification and date available.

DELJIT: Delivery Just in Time message.

DES: Data Encryption Standard. One of a number of standards for securing data during transmission by encrypting it.

DESADV: Dispatch Advice Message.

Digital Certificate: A computer-based record or electronic message issued by an entity that (1) identifies the entity issuing it; (2) names or identifies a certificate holder; (3) contains the public key of the certificate holder; (4) identifies the certificate’s validity period and (5) is digitally signed by the entity issuing it.

Digital Signature: An electronic signature that can be used to authenticate the identity of the sender of a message and via the encrypted document digest, to ensure that the original content of the data that has been sent is unchanged.

Direct Connect EDI: A form of EDI which does rely on an intermediary, see point-to-point.

DISA: Data Interchange Standards Association. 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.

DSD: Direct Store Delivery. The practice of delivering product directly to store and notifying the store of the delivery electronically rather than by paper.

DSS: Decision Support System. Software designed to assist in decision-making by providing analytical programs and data available on mainframes by linking computers to mainframes.

DSTU: Draft Standard for Trial Use. A standard approved by the ANSI ASC X12 committee prior to full approval by ANSI.

DUNS number: Dun & Bradstreet identification number often used in EDI transmissions.


EAI: Enterprise Application Integration. A term used to describe software tools that support integrating applications across a company or enterprise.

EAN: International Article Numbering Association.

EANCOM: A subset of EDIFACT messages, developed by GS1, to allow business partners to exchange commercial documents in a simple, accurate and cost effective manner.

ebMS. ebXML Messaging Services. The secure, reliable method of transmitting electronic data defined as part of the ebXML specifications. It can use a variety of low level transmission protocols including HTTP and SMTP.

ebXML: A standard for an e-business framework that enables enterprises of any size, in any location to meet and conduct business electronically. Developed under the auspices of OASIS and UN/CEFACT

EDI: See Electronic Data Interchange.

EDItEUR: The trade standards body for the global book and serials supply chains.

EDItX: Transaction document formats in XML that mirror and extend the functionality of existing X12, TRADACOMS and EDIFACT messages for the book trade and library sectors.

EDI Translation: The conversion of application data to and from a standard format.

EDI Translator: Computer software used to perform the conversion of application data to and from a standard. Usually licensed rather than developed in-house. May have subsystems for mapping, auditing, and document management.

EDIFACT: Electronic Data Interchange For Administration, Commerce and Transport. The international EDI Standard as developed through the United Nations.

EDIFICE: B2B industry group in high tech and electronics industries in Europe. Also EDIFACT EDI standard subset for those industries.

EDI over the Internet: A protocol for exchange of information in a decentralized, distributed environment designed by the Internet Engineering Task Force. Originally developed to transmit Electronic Data Interchange via email over the Internet. Applicability Statement 1, the first version, used Simple Mail Transport Protocol as the transport protocol, bouncing direction to get to the end connection. Applicability Statement 2, the current version, uses Hypertext Transport Protocol to build a tunnel to the recipient address, establishes the connection, and then sends the information in a secured environment assuring the sender of receipt.

EFT (Electronic funds transfer): Electronic payment in which funds are transferred between bank accounts at different financial institutions.

EIAJ: Japanese EDI standard.

Electronic Commerce: Conducting business between computers through the use of digital exchange.

Electronic Data Interchange (EDI): 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.

Element: The smallest item of information in the standard.

Element Delimiter: Single character delimiter; follows the segment identifier and each data element in a segment except the last.

Element Reference Number: The number that identifies each element from the segment diagram with its corresponding definition in the data dictionary.

Email: The standard abbreviation for Electronic Mail.

Encryption: The process of transforming clear text (data in its original form) into cipher text (the output of a cryptographic algorithm) for security or privacy.

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.

Enterprise Application Integration: The use of middleware to integrate the application programs, databases, and legacy systems involved in an organization’s critical business processes.

Enterprise Resource Planning: Packaged software systems using database technology and a single interface to control all the information related to a company’s business, including customer, product, employee, and financial data.

ENX: The IP-based network for the European automotive industry.

EPC: Electronic product code. A 96-bit number whose format is governed by EPCglobal, a subsidiary of the GS1 standards body. Each RFID tag will contain a unique EPC.

EPCglobal: A subsidiary of the EAN.UCC international standards body which governs the format of EPCs.

Evaluated Receipts Settlement: Method for initiating payment to a supplier that replaces the invoice. Used primarily in the auto industry. First the price is agreed upon by a blanket or other purchase order. Next, a material release tells the supplier the quantity to deliver. An advance ship notice confirms the quantity actually being delivered, and payment is triggered upon receipt.

Event-Driven EDI: Applications and translator exchanging message sets as soon as they are created or received.

eXtensible Markup Language: Extensible Markup Language is designed to improve the functionality of the Web by providing more flexible and adaptable information identification. It is called extensible because it is not a fixed format like Hypertext Markup Language (a single, predefined markup language). Instead, Extensible Markup Language is actually a metalanguage (a language for describing other languages) that allows individuals to customize markup languages for limitless different types of documents. Extensible Markup Language can do this because it is written in Standard Generalized Markup Language, the international standard metalanguage for text markup systems.


File: A collection of related records treated as a basic unit of storage in a computer system.

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.

FIN: The SWIFT FIN is a message transfer based store and forward system. FIN is the main messaging mechanism used today on SWIFTNet and is used by corporates for liquidity and risk management purposes

FTP: File Transfer Protocol. A standard method of transmitting files from one computer to another over the internet.

Functional Acknowledgement: A transaction set transmitted by the receiver of an EDI transmission to the sender, indicating the receipt and syntactical acceptability of a message. It does not provide acknowledgement of the content of the message, just that the message has been successfully received and interpreted.Often abbreviated and referred to as “FA”.

Functional Group: A collection of related transaction sets. Beginning (GS) and ending (GE) segments are used to envelop a complete functional group.

Functional Group Segments (GS/GE): These segments identify a specific functional group of documents such as purchase orders.


Galia: French automotive industry body.

Gateway: The interconnection between public or private networks, enabling the transmission of documents in EDI format across multiple networks.

GCI: Global Commerce Initiative. A global industry user group that identifies issues hindering supply chain performance and suggests potential global solutions for data, messages, processes and associated requirements which it can offer to standards bodies such as GS1 for adoption.

GDD: Global Data Dictionary: a GS1 standard which allows all the potential attributes of an item to be defined. These attributes may include size, brand information, logistical information, etc.

GDS: Global Data Synchronization.

GDSN: Global Data Synchronization Network. Provides a framework that allows all data pools to interoperate and share data seamlessly.

GLN: A Global Location Number (GLN) is a unique number that is assigned to locations to enable them to be identified uniquely worldwide. These global location numbers can be used to identify any legal, physical and functional locations. Global locations numbers are reference keys to computer files where information about the company or location can be found. The GLNs replace the names and addresses of locations and are particularly useful when automating processes; they allow computers to route information to the correct destination with no manual involvement. GLNs must be used when identifying locations and business partners within Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) business messages and data pools, and they can also be used in bar codes to identify a physical location or to provide relevant information for delivery or invoicing purposes.

GLOBAL Registry: A central service which holds pointers to data held in local data pools, provides an index for companies looking for product data held in local data pools and ensures data pools are fully compliant with GS1 standards.

Global Company Identifier: RosettaNet-branded term for the Data Universal Numbering System. The Global Company Identifier is the RosettaNet object and Data Universal Numbering System is the specified solution.

Global Data Dictionary: The repository of definitions and attributes of all data elements used within GS1 Business Message Standards.

GPC: Global Product Classification: a standard way of categorizing products that provides a way to link different company classification systems and offers a common language for collaborative business processes.

GS1: A worldwide network of standards bodies and service providers which develops global supply chain standards and solutions used by over one million companies for bar coding, electronic business messaging, data synchronization and through the EPCglobal Network, radio frequency identification.

GRN: Goods Received Note. A document raised by a customer receiving goods to confirm what has been received, so that invoices may be approved for payment.

GSMP: Global Standards Management Process. The governing body for the development of global data synchronization standards within the GS1 framework. Open to industry participants and solution providers, the GSMP provides the process for developing business requirements and global standards for technical implementations.

GTIN: Global Trade Item Number. A unique identifier for each product.


Hardware: The physical parts of a computer system, such as the central processing unit, tape drives, disk drives, modem, etc.

Header: The specific segment that, in simplest terms, tells the receiving computer where an individual EDI message starts.

HIPPA: Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, established by the U.S Congress in 1996

HL7: A standard for the healthcare industry.

HTTP: HyperText Transfer Protocol. A protocol used to request and transmit files, especially web pages and web page components, over the internet or other computer network.

HTTPS: HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure is a combination of the Hypertext Transfer Protocol with the SSL/TLS protocol to provide encryption and secure identification of the server.

Hub: EDI term for a company that initiates a B2B program with its business partners, usually a buyer. See also Spoke.


IDEA: International Data Exchange Association. Organization based in Brussels that promotes the global expansion of EDI.

IDOC: stands for intermediate document, is a standard data structure for electronic data interchange between application programs written for the popular SAP business system or between an SAP application and an external program. IDOCs serve as the vehicle for data transfer in SAP’s Application Link Enabling (ALE) system.

ID System (EPC Tags and readers): The ID System is a component of the EPCglobal Network that consists of EPC tags and readers. EPC tags are radio frequency identification devices that consist of a microchip and an antenna attached to a substrate. The Electronic Product Code is stored on this tag, which is applied to cases, pallets, and/or items. EPC tags communicate their Electronic Product Codes to EPC readers using radio frequency identification. EPC readers communicate with EPC tags via radio waves and deliver information to local business information systems using EPC Middleware.

IETF: See Internet Engineering Task Force.

Implementation Guide: A publication listing EDI messages that are in use in a particular industry or application. It indicates how the information in those messages should be presented on a segment-by-segment, and data-element-by-data-element basis, including which segments and data elements are needed, which are not 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.

Interactive EDI: Two applications exchanging EDI directly within a pre-programmed context.

Interchange: The exchange of information from one company to another. A group of transaction sets sent from one sender to one receiver at one time.

Interchange Format: A specific data layout that defines a structured business document. The interchange format specifies the sequence, representation, and grouping of granular data elements, and may describe each element in terms of data type, options, cardinality, size, and valid values.

Interchange Control Header: The data segment that indicates and identifies the beginning of an interchange.

Interchange Control Trailer: The data segment that indicates the end of an interchange.

Interchange Envelope: Specific data transmission information in the header and trailer segments, representing an exchange between a single sender/receiver combination, ISA/IEA-approved.

Interconnect: Two VAN’s who link to one another’s address.

Internet Engineering Task Force: A large open international community of network designers, operators, vendors, and researchers concerned with the evolution of the internet architecture and the smooth operation of the internet.

Internet of Things (IoT): A network of physical devices embedded with electronics, software and network connectivity that enable these objects to collect and exchange data.

Invoice: A request for payment that communicates to a buyer the specific items, price, and quantities delivered that must be paid for by the buyer. Payment terms will usually accompany the billing information.

ISDN – Integrated Services Digital Network: A set of communication standards for simultaneous digital transmission of voice, video, data, and other network services.

ISO: 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.


JIT: Just In Time. A technique of managing inventory pioneered in Japan, under which materials are delivered by suppliers to a manufacturer as they are needed for production, rather than for storage or inventory.

JNX: The IP-based network for the Japanese automotive industry.


KNX: The IP-based network for the Korean automotive industry.


Mailbag: ANSI-defined standard for interconnects between VAN (EDI) addresses.

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.

Manifest: A document from the vendor who is shipping goods to a customer that describes where the goods will arrive. Multiple destinations may be included.

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.

Message Header: The service segment starting and uniquely identifying a message.

Message Structured Diagram: The graphic display of the layout of a message.

Message Switching: The routing of a direct transfer message between computers through the services of a third-party service provider.

Message Trailer: The service segment ending a message.

Message Type: An identified and structured set of data elements covering the requirements for a specified type of transaction, e.g., an invoice.

Message Standards: The system of syntax, data elements, segments and messages (transaction sets) with which EDI will be conducted.

Modem: Abbreviated form of Modulator/Demodulator. The electronic device that connects the computer to a telephone line to allow communications.


NAK: A form of negative acknowledgment of an error detection in the transmission.

Network Management: Identifies fault, accounting, configuration, security, and performance management.

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.

Notification of Shipment: A transaction set that advises of the delivery schedule and provides a description of the shipment.


OASIS: Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards. A not-for-profit global consortium that drives the development, convergence and adoption of e-business standards.

Object: Any entity about which we store data and the operations to manipulate that data.

ODETTE: Organization for Data Exchange Through Teletransmission in Europe. Refers to both the European automotive industry body and the EDIFACT EDI standard subset for that industry.

OFTP: ODETTE File Transfer Protocol. The messaging protocol for the European automotive industry.

OFTP v2.0: An update on the OFTP protocol which has been designed from the outset to be used over the internet. OFTP v2.0 offers a number of benefits over OFTP including data compression, exchange of digital certificates and large file transmission between business partners.

OSI: Open Systems Interconnect. Structure based on seven-layer model developed by ISO, which will allow different computer manufacturers’ machines to communicate with one another.

Open Network: A network with which outside parties can communicate.


Paperwork: The documents that have been traditionally used to convey information in a business transaction.

Payment Terms: Also called Terms of Sale. Refers to the agreement of payment of invoice between supply-side business partner and demand-side business partner, e.g., Net 30 indicates that the invoice is to be paid within 30 days.

PIDX: XML document schema used in the Energy industry.

Pilot: The process of testing a part of the final system as a gauge to determine the viability of a concept prior to implementing the system for full production.

Pilot Project: A project conducted between two or more EDI business partners to test the viability of a proposed EDI System.

PIP: Partner Interface Processes. RosettaNet PIPs define business processes between business partners via XML-based dialogs.

PIP Blueprint: A business model that specifies how Partner Roles (buyer, seller, assembler, catalogue publisher, etc.) interactively perform interface activities that collaboratively achieve a business objective. The PIP Blueprint document includes narrative and diagrams.

PIP Choreography: The exchange sequence of Partner Interface Process messages specified using Business Process Specification Schema.

PIP Design and Development Process: A structured process that describes the work and steps required to create a PIP Specification based upon requirements as detailed in the Specification Requirement Document.

PIP in Production: Two business partners using a RosettaNet Partner Interface Process as the business process interface for a live transaction (not in pilot or testing).

PIP Interchange Model: The structure of the exchanged information between business partners in a specific context; content structure described using either Unified Modelling Language or Extensible Markup Language schemas.

PIP Protocols: Technical interface diagrams that visually describe and define the PIP Blueprint.

PIP Specification: Detailed document that provides a definitive description of a system for the purpose of developing or validating the system

Platform: The type of computer system being used.

Point-to-Point: Refers to a type of communication whereby messages are sent directly from one business partner to another without the use of a VAN.

Proprietary Standard: An industry/company-specific data format developed by a company for transmission of data to and from its business partners. Proprietary formats do not comply with the ASC X12 series of standards.

Proprietary Ordering System: An industry company-specific system that allows a supplier to provide order entry capabilities to its customers.

Protocol: Communication standards that determine message content and format, enabling uniformity of transmissions.

Protocol Conversion: The process of enabling two systems with different protocols to communicate.

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.

Purchase Order Acknowledgment: Confirmation to the buyer that the supplier will be filling the purchase order as requested.


Qualifier: Part of an EDI address.


Ramp: A program of activity to electronically enable a group of business partners to send and receive documents in agreed formats.

Receiver: The party to whom the EDI message or transaction set is transmitted.

Receiving Advice Transaction: A transaction set that includes the quantity, description and condition of the product received.

Registry: A mechanism whereby relevant repository items, and metadata about them, can be registered so that a pointer to their location, and all their metadata, can be retrieved as a result of a query.

Repository: A location or set of distributed locations which hold the data (such as that associated with a product), pointed at by a registry, and from where the data can be retrieved.

RFID: Radio Frequency Identification. A technology that allows data held on a microchip to be broadcast using a wireless transmitter. Data from the RFID chip can be read even when the chip is not in line of sight.

RosettaNet: A non-profit consortium dedicated to the collaborative development and rapid deployment of open, business process standards that align processes within the global trading network. More than 700 multinational and regional companies in the high technology, logistics, and adjacent industries, as well as solution providers, participate in RosettaNet’s strategic standards and services development. Fortune 1000 companies worldwide have implemented RosettaNet business process standards. RosettaNet is a subsidiary of GS1 US. To date, the consortium has established several regional affiliate organizations – in Australia, China, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, and Thailand – giving a voice to various business economies seeking to adopt and influence RosettaNet’s global standards. RosettaNet is also represented locally in Europe.


Secure FTP: see SFTP.

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 Code: A code that uniquely identifies each segment as specified in a segment directory.

Segment Delimiter Character: Marks the end of a variable-length segment.

Segment Diagram: The schematic that depicts the format and composition of a segment.

Segment Directory: A listing of the segments unique to the specific system of EDI Standards being used, and usually part of the data dictionary.

Segment Hierarchy: The order of occurrence of segments within a transaction set.

Segment Identifier: A predefined code that identifies the segment.

Segment Name: A name that identifies the segment.

Segment Qualifier: A data element that gives the segment a specific meaning.

Segment Specifications: Distinct attributes of a segment, including structure and content.

Segment Tag: A composite data element, in which the first component data element contains a code that uniquely identifies a segment as specified in the relevant segment directory. Additional component data elements can be conditionally used to indicate the hierarchical level and nesting relationship in a message and the incidence of a segment’s repetition [EDIFACT].

Segment Terminator: A special character that indicates the end of a segment

Self-billing: Customers can generate the invoice themselves and remit payment electronically via EDI.

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.

Sequence Table: A portion of a standard that indicates the possible segments, their sequence, and their attributes for each area of a transaction set.

SFTP: Simple File Transfer Protocol. A network protocol that provides file transfer and manipulation functionality over any reliable data stream. It is typically used with the SSH-2 protocol to provide secure file transfer. (See also SSH).

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, etc.

Simple data elements: A data element containing a single value.

SMTP: Simple Mail Transfer Protocol. The protocol that is most commonly used for transferring email between servers over the internet.

SOAP: Simple Object Access Protocol. A lightweight XML based protocol for exchanging structured information in a de-centralized, distributed environment, defined by the W3C.

Software: The programs residing on disk, tape, or other storage media used by the computer to accomplish its tasks.

Spoke: EDI term that refers to a business partner, usually a supplier to a buyer company (known as a Hub).

SSH: Secure Shell. A set of standards and an associated network protocol that allows a secure channel to be established between a local and remote computer.

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 business 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 business 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.

Store and Forward: A type of messaging service that allows an EDI transmission to be forwarded when convenient to the sender and transmitted immediately to the recipient.

Store and Retrieve: Usually used in conjunction with a mail box system; provides for the storage of a message transmission until the intended receiver accesses the system and retrieves the message.

Supply Chain: A sequence of events, which may include conversion, movement or placement, which adds value to goods, products, or services.

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.


Tag: The unique identifier used with segment and data elements.

TCP/IP: Network protocol for the internet.

TDCC: Transportation Data Coordinating Committee. This is the original EDI organization for the United States. Through its efforts, the first EDI Standards were developed, published, and maintained. It is now EDIA, and has become the national EDI user group for the United States.

TDI: Trading Data Interchange. Abbreviation for EDI common in Europe.

Third-party: A party other than the sender or receiver, such as an EDI Network Services Provider or software developer, that provides goods or services – in this case in support of the exchange of EDI data.

Tradacoms: UK EDI standard developed by GS1 (when GS1 was a different entity called ANA).

Trailer: The specific segment that in simplest terms, tells the receiving computer where an individual EDI message ends.

Transaction Level Acknowledgment: Acknowledgment of receipt and totality of data in a transmission of a functional group or individual transaction set.

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 ID: An identifier that uniquely identifies the transaction set. This identifier is the first data element of the transaction set header segment.

Transaction Set Diagram: A graphic presentation in a valid transaction that specifies the sequence of segment order.

Transaction Set Header Area: Contains segment information pertinent to the total transaction set.

Transaction Set Header Segment: Signifies the beginning of a transaction set.

Transaction Set Level: The processing of a transaction set, including sending and receiving.

Transaction Set Line Item Area: Encompasses the actual business transaction set and includes information, such as quantities, descriptions and prices.

Transaction Set Standards: The system of syntax, data elements, segments, and transaction sets (messages) with which EDI will be conducted.

Transaction Set Summary Area: Contains control information and other data that relate to the total transaction.

Transaction Set Trailer Segment: Signifies the end of a transaction set.

Translation: The process of converting information to and from EDI standard formats.

Translator: A program used to convert information from flat file to EDI format, or from EDI format to flat file.

Transmission Acknowledgment: The acknowledgment that a total transmission was received with no error detected.

Transmission Group: A collection of one or more functional groups. Also known as an Interchange.


UCC: The Uniform Code Council. The organization that oversees the standards for product identification and related electronic communications. The UCC oversaw the Universal Product Code (UPC) in the United States – now superseded by GTINs – as well as Uniform Communication Standards (UCS) for EDI in the grocery industry and Warehouse Information Network Standards (WINS) in the warehousing and transportation industry.

UCS: A subset of the ANSI X12 EDI standard.

UDDI: Universal Description, Discovery, and Integration. It is an XML-based registry for businesses worldwide to list themselves on the internet.

UN/CEFACT: The United Nations Center for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business. It supports activities dedicated to improving the ability of business, trade and administrative organizations to exchange products and services effectively.

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.


Validation: The process of determining that compliance standards have been met by a particular document in an EDI transmission.

Value-Added Network: Often abbreviated as VAN and today called an EDI Network Services Provider, a third-party entity which handles the electronic exchange of information between subscribers to its services. Services provided by VANs include electronic mailboxing of EDI transmissions, protocol and speed conversion, and EDI record keeping for audit tracking.

VAN: See Value-Added Network.

Variable-Length File: A file with segments containing data elements that can vary between minimum and maximum requirements, but which have no set fixed length. A data element delimiter is required to mark the end of the element and a segment delimiter character is needed to mark the end of the segment.

VDA: German EDI data standard in the automotive industry.

Vendor Managed Inventory (VMI): A system of inventory replenishment in which the vendor accepts responsibility for maintaining customer’s inventory levels of the vendor’s products by monitoring POS and inventory information sent by the customer. This is usually automated through EDI to achieve as smooth a flow of replenishment as possible.

Version/Release: Identifies the publication of the standard being used for the generation or the interpretation of data in the X12 standard format.

VICS: Voluntary Inter-industry Commerce Solutions Association – A not-for-profit association with a mission to take a global leadership role in the development of business guidelines and specifications; facilitating implementation through education and measurement, resulting in the improvement of the retail supply chain efficiency and effectiveness, which meet or exceed customer and consumer expectations. GS1 US is the secretariat to the Voluntary Inter-industry Commerce Solutions Association.

VPN: Virtual Private Network.


W3C: The usual abbreviation for the World Wide Web Consortium.

Web-EDI: A generic term for the transmitting of structured business messages over the internet. This may include solutions such as a log on to a portal and inputting commercial transactional information into a form on a website using an internet browser. This method requires an element of manual intervention.

Web Services: A standard means of interoperating between different software applications, running on a variety of platforms and/or frameworks, over the Internet.

Web Services Interoperability: An open industry organization chartered to promote Web Services interoperability across platforms, operating systems, and programming languages. The organization works across the industry and standards organizations to respond to customer needs by providing guidance, best practices, and resources for developing Web Services solutions.

WINS: Warehouse Information Network Standards. A set of EDI standards for warehousing and distribution. WINS is a subset of the ANSI X12 national standard.

World Wide Web Consortium: the body that defines standards (such as HTTP) for the internet.

WSDL: Web Services description language.


X25: Network protocol, still widely used.

X400: Early email system popular in Europe.

X500: Directory services standard of the CCITT.

XML: The usual abbreviation for Extensible Markup Language – an open standard for describing data defined by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).