Version 1.0 of the Universal Data Element Framework Released

After yeas in the making, a new stand promises to help enterprises and businesses of all shapes and sizes tackle the ever-present and pressing problem of semantic interoperability.

“It’s a major issue that actually seems to receive less attention than it deserves,” said Chris Harding, forum director for SOA and semantic interoperability for The Open Group. “You say SOA (service-orientated architecture) for example, people leap up and down … talk about semantic interoperability and people are less excited but perhaps that’s where some of the answers are to some of the problems they have.”

The Open Group, a vendor- and technology-neutral consortium focused on open standards and global interoperability within and between enterprises, today announced the release of version 1.0 of the Universal Data Element Framework (UDEF), a standard way of indexing enterprise information.

UDEF version 1.0 contains the definitions that will enable enterprises to index many commonly-used information items. UDEF will be extended over time, and future versions will cover more and more information used by different kinds of enterprises.

“The intention of the UDEF is to provide a way of indexing information through a simple numeric code that is able to be applied without an enormous amount of training and will enable enterprises to be able to relate different sets of information more easily to each other when those sets of information are tagged using the UDEF.”

UDEF as well as its future development are managed by The Open Group’s UDEF Forum which is comprised of such companies as Capgemini, Lockheed Martin, and Raytheon. For more information on the forum and how to become a member, please visit:

UDEF, which is an extension of ISO standard 11179, simplifies information management through consistent classification and assignment of a global standard identifier to the data names and then relating them to similar data element concepts defined by other organizations. Though this approach is a small part of the overall picture, it is potentially a crucial enabler of semantic interoperability.

For example, application development continues to be very costly because of the difficulty of organizing and accessing the large volumes of information stored by enterprises and utilized by applications.

With the introduction of UDEF, enterprises can access and utilize a standardized framework to index information, allowing developers to find information sources more easily and reducing development costs. Because UDEF is a standard, the cost of interfacing with other enterprises that use the UDEF is reduced as well. UDEF is a kind of metadata or a “metadata index,” said Harding.

“This is a potential solution to (the problem of semantic interoperability),” said Harding. “This is a potential solution, it may not be the only solution but, if it is accepted widely, then it will play a very important role in cutting enterprise costs and confusion.”