ISO compliance best practice

The Danish team is not yet started, and I have not been deep into the translation tasks.
However, a highly qualified candidate has asked for ISO coordination of the terms.
Specifically is ISO 23386 og ISO 23387 standards for the term “Data Template” mentioned as not compliant.

My personal preference is to use standards when their definitions make sense. It often happens that standards get too generalized with the result that the common meaning is lost.

My question is now, do we have a goal of becoming compliant with these ISO standards (and maybe others), or are we expected to choose this in each case?

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Hi @Andreas, welcome to the BIMei Forums!
Thank you for the question. As this is a recurring theme, I thought to provide here a comprehensive public explanation; please bear with me:

Aligning BIM Dictionary items with terms appearing in international standards (e.g. ISO, ANSI, and IEC) is an ongoing effort and we’ve been calibrating our approach over time. Alignment is not an easy task as you know as we have specific BIMe Initiative objectives to fulfil through our inclusions and exclusions (please refer to the About page). To give one example of the challenge, there are 88 definitions of the term “Information” within ISO (10 terms increase since July 2018) including five that are specific to the ‘Building and Construction’ sector. Many of these definitions are too generic or too abstract and thus not really useful for the purposes of the Initiative (we aim to explain, guide, educate, improve - not just comply). To meet our objectives and still be ‘practically compliant’, we have taken the following approach:

  • If a term appears in a relevant international standard (e.g. ISO 19650, 23386, 23387…), its ‘definition’ will be listed first followed by the document and item numbers for easy reference.
  • Inline links will be added to the ‘definitions’ where possible to increase knowledge-content delivery.
  • We will add “Also Refer To” other terms not necessarily included in standards but are supported by relevant research.
  • If the ‘definition’ is abstract or generic, we will include a ‘description’ or an ‘explanation’ derived from peer-reviewed research.

This is an example of the term Actor:

A "person, organization or organizational unit involved in a construction process" [[ISO 19650-1]] (3.2.1). More generally, an actor can be a machine (computer), human, or their combinations (e.g. human-controlled robot or autonomous cyborg) tasked with any activity to design, deliver, or utilise an [[Asset]]

Here you can see that we are including the “description”, [[embedded terms]] and an explanation derived from the Actor-Network-Theory (ANT) which is the basis of much of what we do in Project F.

In summary, this is a continuous ‘review and improve’ effort starting with the 19650 batch. The effort is led by @Dimitri and @Kerem who both work with national ISO committees (BIG thank you to both!). New versions of terms will be published soonish and work can then start on other batches.

Please let me know if you need more clarifications as there’s a lot more to this!


Thanks for the clear answer @Bilal. I think this is the right way to handle it.

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I was glad to read this. I agree it is important to align as much as possible within reason. I’m looking for a simple way to do that during our translation effort to danish, we have a list of documents which are already published in both English and Danish. Being able to show where terms do and do not align is useful for people who are diving deep into the terms.

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Thanks Duncan. It would be beneficial to share your experiences as that’s a common challenge for most dictionary teams. The best place to do so would be in the @Dictionary-Teams group so all can r3espond and contribute.

@Bilal Perhaps you need to make that group visible to me? I can’t find it.

Hi @duncan, of course. I added you to three groups (not sure why you’re not already in them): @BIMei-Announcements, @Community-Space and the general group for all BIM Dictionary volunteers @Dictionary-Teams.