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Define Glossary

Create Data Templates and their building blocks



Definition according to EN ISO 23386: “a data element for the computer-sensible description of a property, a group of properties, etc.”

Note 1 to entry: An attribute describes only one single detail of a property or a group of properties.

Example: The name of a property, the definition of a group of properties.

Other examples of attributes are: name, definition, GUID etc.
In other words, an attribute is a metadata characteristic relative to the description of a property, group of properties, etc.

Naming conventions and rules:


A group of Define users that owns knowledge in a specific area(s). The role of these users is to analyse requests, validate or refuse the addition or the modification of concepts. The authority defines and manages the domains and the experts that are part of the authority.


Example: construction object, group of properties, data template, properties etc.

A uniquely identified item in Define that represents an object or idea in the natural world. Data Template, Construction objects, Properties, Units and Reference documents are instances of a concept.

Construction object

Definition according to EN ISO 23387: “object of interest in the context of a construction process”

Example 1: The construction object “wall” is a type of system.

Example 2: The construction object “calcium silicate masonry unit” is a type of product.

In other words, a construction object is a physical object related to or used in the construction process.

Additional examples: window, exterior door, expanded polystyrene (EPS) insulation, masonry wall etc.

Content Approval process

EN ISO 23386 compliant process where Domain experts judge the relevance on new concepts proposed by other users and approve whether the concepts can be written in Cobuilder Define.

Content expert

According to EN ISO 23386, the content expert, called “applicant” in the standard, is a user who formulates a request for the creation and/or modification of a concept. Although not explicitly their job, it is advisable for Content creators to also check for duplicates and content guidelines before sending the request forward. Any client of Define can have a number of Content creator users.


An independent space for concepts in Define. Multiple contexts can exist at the same time. Each client has their own context where they create their concepts, and contexts can share concepts between one another, to enable interoperable data.

Data Auditing process

The process of examination of new and/or existing concepts for quality and accuracy in Define, by which it is ensured that they conform to an “ideal state” (check Data structuring guidelines) and avoids duplication of concepts. Data auditing does not concern the factual truthfulness of the content, rather it ensures that the content is represented in a consistent, clear and properly structured way.

Data auditor

User who manages the Data auditing process. Not responsible for the factual truthfulness of the concepts, but for their consistent structuring and the overall health of Define’s database. Data auditing is performed by Cobuilder – the software provider that develops and manages the Define tool.

Data dictionary

Definition according to EN ISO 23386: “centralized repository of information about data such as meaning, relationships to other data, origin, usage and format”

Note 1 to entry: The definition is from IBM Dictionary of Computing

Data model

Definition according to ISO/TS 10303-17: “description of the organization of data in the management information system of an enterprise”

Another definition of data model is: "An abstract model that organizes elements of data and standardizes how they relate to one another".

Elements examples: the customers, products, and orders found in a manufacturing organization.

Data sheet

Data input in accordance with a Data template, that represents a real-world product, asset or requirement.

Examples: transmittance 0.9 W/mK, height – 600 mm, length – 1200 mm etc.

Data template

Definition according to EN ISO 23387: “data structure used to describe the characteristics of construction objects”

Example 1: A data template provides a view based on an information exchange, e.g. a heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system designer is asking for the descriptions of the HVAC products that can be loaded into the design system.

Example 2: A data template provides manufacturers a standardized data structure that can be applied to any internal system and/or process of handling product data, e.g. one or several product information management systems can apply or map to this structure to enable machine readability, both internally and with any requests from any software using the same data template structure. An HVAC product manufacturer can then answer the request from any stakeholder including the HVAC system designer.

Note 1 to entry: The relevant scope of the data template can be used together with the term “data template”. E.g. a data template for a product can be named “product data template”. A data template for a system can be named “system data template”, etc.

Note 2 to entry: A data template can be used in an information exchange for a specific purpose for a construction object in the inception, brief, design, production, operation and demolition of facilities.

Domain expert

In the standard EN ISO 23386 the domain expert is referred to as "expert".

The definition according to EN ISO 23386 is: “person who, through knowledge or experience, has competence to give an opinion in the fields about which he/she is consulted”

In Define, domain experts are users who manage the approval process. They have the necessary competence to judge whether a new concept is factually true and relevant to the use case. Although not explicitly their job, it is strongly advisable that Domain experts also check for duplicates.


Definition according to EN ISO 23386: “area of activity covering a science, a technique, a material, etc.”

In Define, the domain is an attribute that shows which Authorities will have to approve a newly created concept.

Enumerated value

Definition according to EN ISO 23387: “data type consisting of a set of named values called elements, members, enumeral, or enumerators of the type”

Example: Class I, Class II, Grade A, Grade B, etc.

In other words, an enumerated value is a predefined constraint of the values that can be input for a property.

Group of properties

Definition according to EN ISO 23387: „collection enabling the properties to be prearranged or organized“

Note 1 to entry: In this document, "group of properties" is used for organizing properties through the use of xtdCollection.

In other words, a group of properties is a collection organising properties based on a certain criterion.

Example: performance properties, geometric properties etc.

Globally unique identifier (GUID)

Definition according to ISO 23386:2020, 3.13: “unique identifier generated using an algorithm”

Note 1 to entry: In ISO 16739-1 and ISO 12006-3 the compressed version of GUID is used.

Interconnected data dictionaries

Definition according to EN ISO 23386: “set of data dictionaries following EN ISO 23386 and connected using specific attributes”

In other words, the interconnected data dictionaries can share content between each other thanks to the data structure and process described in EN ISO 23386.

Mapping (data mapping)

The process of creating data element mappings between two distinct data models, used as a first step for a wide variety of data integration tasks, e.g., data transformation.


In EN ISO 23386 and EN ISO 23387, measure is referred to as “quantity”.

The definition according to EN ISO 23387 is: “property of a phenomenon, body, or substance, where the property has a magnitude that can be expressed by means of a number and a reference”

Example 1: Length, mass, electric current (ISQ base quantities).

Example 2: Plane angle, force, power (derived quantities).

Note 1 to entry: Quantities can appear as base quantities or derived quantities.

In other words, a measure is a representation of a property's physical nature that can be measured and expressed numerically.

Example: pressure, time, mass etc.

Private use

Concepts in Define can be shared between contexts or integrated to serve external solutions via the API. A concept that is flagged as “Private use” is useable only in the context where it has been created, cannot be shared to other contexts, and cannot be distributed via API or a Define public page. It can only be integrated with external solutions subject to additional agreement between the client and the software provider managing Define, Cobuilder.


Definition according to EN ISO 23387: “inherent or acquired feature of an item”

Example 1: Length, sound reduction index (properties).

Example 2: Length according to EN 12058, sound reduction index according to ISO 10140-4 (specific properties).

Note 1 to entry: When a property is named together with reference to a technical specification, where the instructions to assess the performance are available (usually standards), it is to be regarded as a specific property. The relationship between the property and the specific property is modeled as a parent child relationship.

In other words, property is a characteristic of an object.

Example: width, height, thermal transmittance etc.

Public view

A way to share the content you created in Define with the external audience.


Definition according to EN ISO 23387: “real scalar quantity, defined and adopted by convention, with which any other quantity of the same kind can be compared to express the ratio of the second quantity to the first one as a number”

In other words, a unit is a measurement unit that gives scale to a property's value.

Example: m², kg CO₂ eq., cm etc.