FAQ 2019-01-16T07:03:52+00:00

Frequently Asked Questions

ECCMA is an association focused on delivering a clear scope of its goals and benefits and does its best to provide members, and non-members, with tools and assistance in its areas of expertise.

Below is information to help individuals and organizations understand ECCMAs overall purpose.

ECCMA or the Electronic Commerce Code Management Association is a not-for-profit International Association of Master Data Quality Managers set up in 1999, to develop and maintain open solutions for Faster – Better – Cheaper access to authoritative master data. ECCMA is the original developer of the UNSPSC, the project leader for ISO 22745 (open technical dictionaries and their application to the exchange of characteristic data) and ISO 8000 (information and data quality), as well as, the administrator of US TAG to ISO TC 184 (Automation systems and integration), TC 184/SC 4 (Industrial data) and TC 184/SC 5 (Interoperability, integration, and architectures for enterprise systems and automation applications) and the international secretariat for ISO TC 184/SC 5.

ECCMAs mission is to foster the development, growth and adoption of International Standards for Master Data Quality, through an international association of industry and government master data managers working collaboratively to increase the quality and lower the cost of descriptions of individuals, organizations, goods and services.

Companies and individuals join ECCMA to have access to information and technical support that can help them measure and improve the quality of their master data.

While the ECCMA Open Technical Dictionary (eOTD) is a public resource with unrestricted access, membership is required to access the shared ECCMA Data Requirements Registry (eDRR) and ECCMA Shared Master Data (eSMD), which are both important resources in lowering the cost of achieving ISO 8000 quality data.

Members also have access to technical support provided by a team of experts in master data quality, as well as a wide range of discounts on events, trainings and certifications.

For more information on the why you should consider an ECCMA Membership, click here

Industries that have high indirect costs are those that benefit most from ECCMA membership. These include: Agriculture, Mining, Oil and Gas exploration, extraction and distribution, Electricity production and distribution, Manufacturing, Processing, and Fleet or Facility management.

ECCMA will help you identify what master data is of most value and where improving its quality can yield the greatest revenue in the shortest amount of time.

The ECCMA Open Technical Dictionary (eOTD) is an open public registry of terminology from international and national standards, as well as, from industry associations. It resembles any other dictionary with the addition of public domain concept and terminology identifiers.

The eOTD also provides a public registry of localizations. They are not literal translations of a term or a definition, but rather the terms and definitions used to describe the concept in a language as spoken in a specific region. For example, French as spoken in France, or French as spoken in Canada.

Finally, the eOTD provides a public registry of concept mappings. This is very important because it allows different groups to maintain their own terminology while mapping to the terminology used by other groups. For example, mapping between the concept of, “interior diameter” and “bore.” Both terms are used in different industries, but mean the same thing. The eOTD links the two concepts with the permission of the controllers of the two entries in the eOTD. This process is called a public mapping. In practice, eOTD identifiers are used to encode data turning it into unambiguous, language independent, portable data. To decode the identifiers you simply use the eOTD and look up the terminology associated with the identifier.

The eOTD also conforms to ISO 22745, the international standard that defines the structure and administration of an open technical dictionary. The eOTD is available free to the general public through a web services interface. There is not a license required to use the eOTD. The eOTD concept identifiers are in the public domain, they may be used or distributed without license and can be safely embedded in data without the risk of creating a joint copyright.

The eOTD is an open public registry, but it is a very large file that contains over 2.9 million concepts. Because of its size it is not practical to manage as a spreadsheet or with most databases. The best way to access the eOTD is through a searcher that utilizes web services or to implement the ECCMA published web services interface.

Members of ECCMA are provided with a username and password. This provides them access to the Member Login Area. This is where members can find details on how to obtain downloads they may need.

If you are unable to find a suitable concept amongst the 2.9 million concepts that are currently in the eOTD and you are a current Member of ECCMA, we will be happy to assist you in finding one or you may request that one is added. If you are not a member and cannot find a concept that best suites your needs, we suggest joining ECCMA so we can better assist you.

Typically, ECCMA researches existing concept definitions published in one of the many international or national standards or by an industry association. Once found it is added to the eOTD, or as an alternate process, ECCMA will develop a new concept. Guidelines for developing concept terms and definitions can be found in ISO 22745-11.

ECCMA is the manager of the eOTD, an open technical dictionary, that bears its name. ECCMA controls the assignment of the public domain, 0161 identifiers used in the eOTD, however, the eOTD can be freely distributed and may be available from many sites. The eOTD will always be available to the public, but there is no guarantee that any one specific format will be supported. It is the decision of ECCMA members to select the best format for the distribution of the eOTD.

The ECCMA Data Requirements Registry (eDRR) is a shared resource built by ECCMA members to assist other members in their data cleaning and data management projects. The eDRR is a library of requirements where ECCMA members can register their data requirements, research existing data requirements to use as a base for creating a new requirement or indicate that they are a user of a registered data requirement in order to be notified if the data requirement is marked as deprecated (nothing is ever deleted from an ECCMA registry).

Data Requirements are used to define the required characteristic needed to describe a class of items. Typically, data requirements are known as cataloging templates or identification guides, but in reality a data entry form can be expressed in eOTD-i-xml (ISO 22745-30) and registered in the eDRR.

Meeting requirements for data is one of the fundamental clauses of ISO 8000 data quality. Without a data requirement against which you can test data, you cannot determine the quality of the data. Data Requirements are also the starting point of Cataloging at Source (C@S).

Yes, data requirements (also known as, identification guides or cataloging templates) are specific to an organization and are designed for a specific purpose. ECCMA encourages the registration of data requirements in the eDRR for three purposes:

  1. ECCMA members can share data requirements as templates to build their own.
  2. ECCMA can use the eDRR to rank the use of concepts in the eOTD. This helps other ECCMA members identify the most commonly used concepts and encourages harmonization.
  3. The eDRR is an essential part of Cataloging at Source. This is a process where a data requestor (buyer) can send a request for data to a data provider (supplier).


Refers to assigning a reference number that can be used to identify an item or a group of items. There are two common levels of identification. The first level identifies a unique item, such as a serial number. The second level identifies a group of items such as a part or batch number. For more information, download a copy of ECCMAs White Paper, “Supply Chain Management by the Numbers”.


Labelling an item in order for it to be distinguished from, or grouped with, others through its form or function. Descriptions can be free form or structured. The quality of a description is measured by the degree to which it fulfills its function. Structured descriptions are derived from property value pairs that describe the characteristics of an item (individual, organization, location, or service). The key to a good description is ensuring that the concepts used in a description (properties, units of measure, enumerated values) are explicitly labelled; this is a requirement of ISO 8000 quality data.


A hierarchy used to group items that share similar characteristics. A classification typically has many levels. A company’s chart of accounts is a form of classification. By their very nature, classifications are orders that serve a specific purpose and cannot use a classification designed for one purpose to serve another. Classifications may also cover specific domains and exclude others.

While you may not have experience in cataloguing, you know your products so you will not find it difficult describing it by its characteristics. A class is simply a group of things that share the same characteristics and that are differentiated by the characteristic values. The templates are only suggested boilerplate lists of characteristics for a class to help you. You try one template that you think looks right and if it does not fit, you try another and if you cannot find a class or a template that fits you create your own.

The UNSPSC was designed as a standard procurement classification. It is very similar to a chart of accounts that is used to group similar items together for analyzing expenditure. The original goal of the UNSPSC was to allow buyers to provide their suppliers with a standardized commodity code that they could add to the line items on their invoices so that when a buyer received the invoice it would be easy to analyze. Initially this worked very well, because suppliers liked having a single, simple “standard” commodity code they could use for all their customers. Technology has largely made the UNSPSC obsolete as both buyers and their suppliers have become more sophisticated. Suppliers have realized that better visibility comes from better descriptions and buyers have realized that in order to manage their supply chain they need better descriptions of what they are buying. Classifications like the UNSPSC, UNCCS, NCS or CPV still serve an important purpose for spend analysis, but typically they are assigned automatically by the buyer and they ask their suppliers for better quality, and preferably standardized, descriptions.

ECCMA is the U.S. technical advisory group (U.S. TAG) administrator for two of the four sub-committees of TC 184. In this role, ECCMA is responsible for insuring U.S. interests are included on any standards developed and balloted in these pertinent subject areas. ECCMA is also the Secretariat of ISO TC 184/SC 5, Interoperability, integration, and architectures for enterprise systems and automation applications.

TC 184 is the primary technical committee where international standards come together for manufacturing systems. With the renewed interest in manufacturing, including smart manufacturing initiatives, this technical committee, and its subcommittees, are clearly poised to play a central role in efforts to strengthen the manufacturing sector. Standards developed and published in TC 184 and its sub-committees have far reaching impact, both globally and technically.

For more information on joining the U.S. TAG please, click here.

A master data quality manager certified under ISO 8000 has demonstrated that they understand the fundamental principles of the standard and that they know how to use data requirements and the dictionaries that support them to validate the quality of master data.