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Getting Started with Define

The purpose of this page is to help you and your organisation to get started with Define and to provide you with a step-by-step process of fulfilling some of the prerequisites for implementing and taking full advantage of the software system.

In 90% of the cases when Define is most beneficial the organisation manages some rudimentary form of properties and data templates hosted in spreadsheets. As efficiency is our key priority a prerequisite for using Define is always to get this data embedded into the solution’s logic so you don’t have to start managing your interoperable, standard-based data from scratch.

Scroll down and find out more about each of the 4 steps, required to start using Define while taking advantage of the data you already have.

Initial set up of the account

To start using Define, your separate account in the system needs to be set up by an admin user. This includes setting up user authorities and domains and allowing a public view of your content from the menu.

This step happens in-system so please select “Log in” from the top menu.

Step 1: Collecting and extracting data

Тhe actual process of implementing Define starts with the collection of data from various sources. This is partially done outside of Define system.

The organisation’s IT Experts are the people responsible for managing the organisation’s information and software solutions (most often in databases). In this step, they need to collect data from different internal sources of information such as Templates, Specifications, Product Sheets and prepare them for integration with Cobuilder Define. The extracted files are most often in an Excel format.

Organisation’s IT Experts extract:

  • The schema of the content – this is the schema used to organise and structure the organisation’s content.
  • The actual content – the information that goes into the schema.

As early as this stage, our experts advise that the content should be analysed to remove duplicates and all unnecessary information. Cobuilder’s experts are available to consult.

Step 2: Match and Transform:

This step involves the organisation’s IT Experts and Domain experts.

IT Experts

  • Firstly, your IT Experts match the organisation’s schema to the one used in Define and transform it according to Define.
  • If they find terms that represent the same piece of information, those concepts need to be mapped and transformed. Such is the case for the terms “product type” and “construction object”. Both carry the same information and need to be aligned towards one common schema as it is in Define.

Domain Experts

  • Secondly, the organisation’s Domain experts match and transform the content in accordance with the agreed schema from the previous step. Domain Experts are people with technical knowledge of the data (such as characteristics of products and market specifics) describing the products within their field of expertise.
  • Taking this step will transform the organisation’s content to data that is fully machine-readable by different software solutions. Moreover, this data will be structured according to EN ISO 23387 standard once it is imported into Define.
  • We advise that experts do a final double-check and validate the match and transform step with Domain experts before proceeding with the import to Define. This is advisable because Domain experts ensure that concepts are relevant to the construction industry and the particular use case they are created for.

Step 3: Structure + Standardise + Translate

The organisation’s Content Experts enter the data in Define according to the mappings and transformations that are done in the previous step.

At this stage, your organisation’s Content Experts (the users who create new draft concepts) can start preparing English translations for all the content that is going to be populated in Define.  They should provide English translations of their content. Our experts can support you with additional consulting if needed.

The content entered in Define should go through the governance procedures that are part of the Define workflow. Those are Content Approval and Data auditing processes, and you can find more information about them in The Data Auditing Process ressource.

Domain Experts review and approve the created content in Define in accordance with EN ISO 23386 standard.

Being cleared of duplicates, structured into Data Templates, and fed into Define, your organisation’s data follows the quality guidelines in EN ISO 23386 standard and is fully machine-readable and structured according to another “partner” standard, namely EN ISO 23387.

Step 4: Distribution and maintenance


Once the organisation’s data becomes available in Define and is approved by the Domain experts, it can be distributed to all stakeholders – be it association members or external and internal parties.

The stakeholders can access the approved and trusted data via two options: API or white-labelled webpage.

  • Option 1: If an organisation wants to make its content publicly available for the industry, this could be done via a white-labelled webpage and API.
  • Option 2: If an association wants to provide its content only to its members and limit access to it, this could be done by disseminating it only via the API.


Finally, the Content Experts will have control to easily maintain and update the content created in Define.

In the Define system they take advantage of:

  • Updating the content according to the latest industry standards.
  • Updating the content according to their evolving needs.
  • Adding new translations.
  • Automated notification system to all members.

The maintenance process always goes through the embedded workflows of data governance and data auditing. Domain Experts must always review and approve the proposed by Content Experts changes in content. Additionally, Data auditors ensure consistent structuring and overall health of Define’s database. Thus, we guarantee that only high-quality information flows in our partners’ system.

As with all previous steps, Cobuilder operator of Define can provide consulting services.