The Global Language of Business

3.15 Maintaining

All GS1 standards and guidelines shall use the definitions found in and have the following statement proceeding any glossary:

Please refer to the for the latest version.

Prior to final vote of any standards or guidelines, any glossary terms that contain additions or changes to the must be formally evaluated against the existing glossary. If any divergence is identified, it must be clearly be identified and communicated to the group by the Standard Development Lead:

If the submitting group determines that the definition of an existing term needs to be adjusted, any other affected groups must be notified at latest prior to the community review to ensure that the definition changes are clear, and do not have a negative impact.

The changes will be discussed in the requesting working group with invitation given to the members all affected groups to ensure that consensus is reached. If consensus cannot be reached guidance will be requested from the GS1 Architecture Group.

It should be noted that is not published with a version number; rather it will always show the most recent snapshot of terms and definitions along with the source of each term included.

3.15.1 Best practice for developing a GS1 glossary definition

A definition is a concise and precise statement conveying the fundamental essence (properties and characteristics) of a concept/concepts (word or expression). The consistency and quality of all GS1 standards and guidelines is of critical importance and to help ensure this across all GS1 documentation clear definitions for specific GS1 terms are required and are developed using the best practice below.

3.15 Maintaining - Image 0 Important: A GS1 glossary definition is only required when the term defined pertains to a GS1 specific concept used within a specific document. The GS1 glossary shall NOT contain common terms the meaning of which can be found in a dictionary.

Best practice


Definition SHALL be unique within A new term utilising an existing definition is not acceptable. Only new terms with definitions that currently do not exist will be accepted for reusability reasons. Synonyms are acceptable as additional information, but cannot serve as the definition itself.

[poor] "Goods Dispatch Date" - Date on which goods are delivered.

[correct] "Goods Dispatch Date" - Date on which goods are dispatched by a given party.

Definition SHALL state the essential meaning of the concept in the singular

[poor] Article Number – a reference number identifying articles

[correct] Article Number: A reference number that identifies an article.

Definition SHALL state what the concept is. The definition may include what it is not, only if what it is clearly outlined.

[poor] Freight Cost Amount: Costs that are not related to packing, loading, unloading and insurance.

[correct] Freight Cost Amount: Cost amount incurred by a shipper in moving goods from one place to another.

Definition SHALL be stated as a descriptive phrase including the essential characteristics of a concept. A phrase normally necessary to form a precise definition. Simply stating one or more synonym(s) is insufficient. Simply restating the words of the name in a different order is insufficient. If more than a descriptive phrase is needed, use complete, grammatically correct sentences.

[poor] Agent Name: Representative.

[correct] Agent Name: Name of party authorised to act on behalf of another party.

Definition SHALL NOT be a list of synonyms

Definition SHALL contain full words and not abbreviations to avoid ambiguity. Understanding the meaning of an abbreviation, including acronyms and initials, is usually confined to a certain environment. In other environments the same abbreviation can cause misinterpretation or confusion. Therefore, to avoid ambiguity, full words, not abbreviations, shall be used in the definition.

[poor] Tide Height: The vertical distance from MSL to a specific tide level.

[correct] Tide Height: The vertical distance from mean sea level (MSL) to a specific tide level.

Definition SHALL NOT be circular

Two data elements with poor (circular) definitions:

1) Employee ID Number - Number assigned to an employee.

2) Employee - Person corresponding to the employee ID number.

Definition SHALL be different if the concept or objects they define are different. Two different concepts or objects cannot have the same definition.

Definition SHALL be written in Oxford dictionary English

Definition SHALL be able to stand alone. The meaning of the concept should be apparent from the definition. Additional explanations or references should not be necessary for understanding the meaning of the definition.

[poor] School Location City Name: See "school site".

[correct] School Location City Name: Name of the city where a school is situated.

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