ISO TC37 to Create a Standard UML Profile for Terminology

Donald R.  Chapin
Donald R. Chapin co-chair, OMG Business Modelling and Integration Domain Task Force Read Author Bio || Read All Articles by Donald R. Chapin

At its recent 2010 Plenary meeting in Dublin, ISO TC37 ("Terminology and other Language and Content Resources") approved a resolution for ISO TC37 / SC1 / WG5 to:

  • review and update the present ISO technical report ISO/TR 24156 ("Guidelines for using UML notation in terminology work") based on the comments submitted at the meeting in Dublin;

  • harmonize it with Annex H "Use of UML Notation in a Business Context to Represent SBVR-Style Vocabularies" of the OMG's SBVR specification;

  • validate it against the latest UML specifications; and

  • convert it into an International Standard ISO 24156-1, Graphic notations for concept modeling in terminology work and its relationship with UML — Part 1:  Guidelines for using UML and Mind Mapping notation in terminology work.

ISO/TR 24156 gives terminological meaning to UML symbols by mapping them to standard terminology science concepts defined in ISO 704, ISO 1087-1, ISO 1087-2, and ISO 12620.  These are the same standards for which the LISA / ISO 30042 TBX ("Term Base Exchange") standard provides a validatable XML schema for exchanging terminologies based on those standards, which includes SBVR terminologies.

It is very important to note that ISO/TR 24156 does not, and ISO 24156-1 will not, map terminology standards concepts to UML metamodel construct semantics / meanings.  This ISO technical report /future standard is limited entirely to using UML symbols to represent concept meanings in the above terminology standards.  That is why the UML Profile approach is being used.

In addition, the resolution calls for a notation, that is most familiar to terminologists and most easily used by them, to be adopted (and enhanced where necessary) to complement the UML notation, which is more familiar to information technologists.  The concept modeling notation most widely used in organizations that was discussed at the meeting in Dublin is the Mind Mapping notation.

A second resolution calls for work to begin in 2011 on two transformations:

  1. from terminology concepts — as defined in the above standards and in SBVR Clauses 8, 9, 11, & 12 — to conceptual information modeling — as defined in ISO/TR 9007 ("Concepts and Terminology for the Conceptual Schema and the Information Base") and referenced in SBVR Clause 10, which provides the formal interpretation for SBVR; and

  2. from conceptual information modeling — as defined in ISO/TR 9007 — to Class-of-Platform Independent transient and persistent data store structures, which are defined in the upcoming "Information Management Metamodel (IMM)" specification from the OMG.

This work will be published as ISO 24156-2, Graphic notations for concept modeling in terminology work and its relationship with UML — Part 2:  Guidelines for transforming the content of terminology management systems into UML information models.  It is intended to result from a collaboration between ISO TC37 / SC1 / WG5 and the OMG.  The work is in very early stages, with only an outline focusing on the structure and purpose of the standard to be published by the end of April 2011.  This provides time for review and discussion at the 2011 ISO TC37 Plenary in Seoul, Korea in June 2011.

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Standard citation for this article:

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Donald R. Chapin, "ISO TC37 to Create a Standard UML Profile for Terminology" Business Rules Journal, Vol. 11, No. 10, (Oct. 2010)

About our Contributor:

Donald  R. Chapin
Donald R. Chapin co-chair, OMG Business Modelling and Integration Domain Task Force

Donald Chapin is co-chair of the OMG Business Modelling and Integration Domain Task Force. He led the team that developed the OMG's "Semantics of Business Vocabulary and Business Rules" (SBVR) specification, and is co-chair of its Revision Task Force. Donald is also the OMG's Liaison to ISO TC 37 (Terminology and other Language and Content Resources) and the ISO TC 37/SC 1/WG 5 SBVR project leader. He is a member of the British Standards Institute Terminology Technical Committee (TS/1) and a British delegate to ISO TC 37.

Donald has substantial experience in training and methodology development — starting in the late 1960s, when he first introduced decision tables into IBM's internal application development training, and continuing to his current practice, where he is developing and presenting workshops for application of SBVR. Currently he is working with a major manufacturing company and a UK government agency on federated business policies expressed in SBVR. Donald is a member of the Business Rules Group and contributed to the development of the Business Rules Manifesto.

Donald can be reached at

Read All Articles by Donald R. Chapin
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