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Executive Guide on Core Component Library and Core Component Technical Specification

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ExecGuide_CCL-CCTS_Eng.pdf (application/pdf, 874.03 KB)
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ExecGuide_CCL-CCTS_Fre.pdf (application/pdf, 940.99 KB)
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ExecGuide_CCL-CCTS_Rus.pdf (application/pdf, 965.82 KB)

In a paper document, information can be presented in free text. However, in official forms or common business documents, information is typically presented in structured boxes, which require the entry of specific information related to parties, places, transport or goods details, etc.

Within an electronic message, the majority of information is structured in order to provide specific, identifiable information that can be interpreted correctly by automated systems. In order for this to work, both the receiving and sending parties need to use the same semantics (or basic meaning) for each component of data. To provide these common semantic definitions, the United Nations Centre for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business (UN/CEFACT) has developed the United Nations Core Component Library (UN/CCL).

If information is presented in a very “flat” manner (i.e. with all components being on an equal level), this may create confusion or redundancy. For example, if we have a data component called “City Name”, do we mean the city name of the destination address, or that of the expedition address, or perhaps that of the freight forwarder, etc.? If we want to know which instance is being referred to, then one option is to qualify “City Name” each time it is used. If this is done for every component of an address, redundant data is required. On the other hand, if the “basic core component” of “City Name” is used in an aggregate core component such as “address” and is used in a business context such as “shipping destination”, then “City Name” and all of the other basic core components used in “Shipping Destination” do not have to be individually qualified.

In order to make the UN/CCL more workable, the information is grouped into logical aggregations and/or it is associated with its business context. This enables a more flexible maintenance as the majority of concepts are expressed in aggregate core components that are built using a smaller number of basic core components (like building blocks) or by associating a core component with a business context. Each change to a basic core component will be inherited in all of its uses. For example, if the base component “City Name” is changed, then it will be changed in all types of “addresses” that include “City Name” and in all of the business contexts that use “City Name”.

This requires a strict methodology for creating the base components: the aggregated components, and the components within business contexts. This methodology can be compared to the rules of grammar for a language, which allow language speakers to understand one another. For the UN/CCL, this methodology is called the United Nations Core Components Technical Specification (UN/CCTS). The specifications in the UN/CCTS are not only useful for creating and maintaining the UN/CCL, they can also be used by business analysts, business users and information technology specialists who supply data content and who design applications that use the data definitions from the UN/CCL.