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Drafting IEC publications

 

 

16 Terms and definitions

16.1 Purpose or rationale

The Terms and definitions clause provides definitions necessary for the understanding of certain terms used in the document.

 

If necessary, terminological entries can be supplemented by information (including requirements) given in the notes to entry.

 

EXAMPLE

 

3.6

moisture content mass by volume

mass of evaporable water divided by volume of dry material

 

Note 1 to entry: The method of evaporating water from a moist material shall be stated when "moisture content mass by volume" is used.

 

Terminology may take the form of an independent terminology standard (a vocabulary, nomenclature, or list of equivalent terms in different languages) or be included in a Terms and definitions clause in a document that also deals with other aspects.

 

16.2 Normative or informative?

The Terms and definitions clause is a normative element. It defines the way in which the listed terms shall be interpreted.

 

16.3 Mandatory, conditional or optional?

The Terms and definitions clause is a mandatory element, even if it contains no terminological entries.

 

16.4 Numbering and subdivision

The Terms and definitions clause shall be numbered as Clause 3. It may be subdivided. Terminological entries shall be numbered. The numbering and structure shall be identical in all language versions.

 

NOTE These numbers are not considered as subclause numbers.

 

 

Terms and definitions should preferably be listed according to the hierarchy of the concepts (i.e. systematic order). Alphabetical order is the least preferred order.

 

 

For convenience, the symbols and abbreviated terms may be combined with the terms and definitions in order to bring together terms and their definitions, symbols and abbreviated terms under an appropriate composite title, for example "Terms, definitions, symbols and abbreviated terms".

 

16.5 Specific principles and rules

6.5.1 General

The terms and definitions clause shall only appear once in each document.

6.5.2 Rules for the development of terminological entries

Terminological entries shall be drafted in accordance with ISO 10241-1. Subclause 16.5 contains only a summary of some of these rules. General principles and methods for terminology work are specified in ISO 704.

6.5.3 Introductory wording

If all the specific terms and definitions are provided in Clause 3, use the following introductory text:

 

For the purposes of this document, the following terms and definitions apply.

 

ISO and IEC maintain terminological databases for use in standardization at the following addresses:

 

If reference is given to an external document, use the following introductory text:

 

For the purposes of this document, the terms and definitions given in [external document reference xxx] apply.

 

ISO and IEC maintain terminological databases for use in standardization at the following addresses:

 

If terms and definitions are provided in Clause 3, in addition to a reference to an external document, use the following introductory text:

 

For the purposes of this document, the terms and definitions given in [external document reference xxx] and the following apply.

 

ISO and IEC maintain terminological databases for use in standardization at the following addresses:

 

If there are no terms and definitions provided, use the following introductory text:

 

No terms and definitions are listed in this document.

 

ISO and IEC maintain terminological databases for use in standardization at the following addresses:

 

NOTE The introductory text is not a hanging paragraph (see 22.3.3 ), as the Terms and definitions clause consists of a list of terminological entries and not subclauses.

16.5.4 Permitted content

Only terms which are used in the document shall be listed in the Terms and definitions clause. This rule does not apply to terminology standards, whose terms are intended for wider use.

16.5.5 Terms

Common terms, which a qualified user of the document will already know, should not be defined.

 

Types of term:

  • Preferred terms are the primary terms for a given concept. The preferred term is the form which is used throughout the main body of the text. They are written in bold type (with the exception of symbols, which shall be presented as used in running text).
  • Admitted terms are accepted synonyms for the preferred term. They are written in regular type.
  • Deprecated terms are synonyms of the preferred term which are no longer in use or whose use is discouraged. They are written in regular type.

There can be more than one term of each type. An abbreviated term or a symbol can constitute a term.

 

EXAMPLE 1

 

 

3.1

Preferred term

implant body

Admitted term

dental implant body

Deprecated term

DEPRECATED: implant fixture

Definition

primary single component or portion of a dental implant which is intended to remain within tissues

 

Terms shall be written in lower case characters. Upper case characters, mathematical symbols, typographical signs and syntactic signs (e.g. punctuation marks, hyphens, parentheses, square brackets and other connectors or delimiters) as well as their character styles (i.e. fonts and bold, italic, bold italic, or other style conventions) shall be used in a term only if they constitute part of the normal written form of the term. Terms shall in general be presented in their basic grammatical form, i.e. nouns in the singular, verbs in the infinitive.

 

EXAMPLE 2

Correct use of parentheses:

 

 

bis(dimethylthiocarbamyl) disulfide

The parentheses and the content therein are part of the term.

 

Incorrect use of parentheses:

 

 

integrity (of system)

The words in parentheses are not part of the term.

 

EXAMPLE 3

Incorrect expression of equivalent terms:

 

live working (work)

It is incorrect to indicate a synonymous term using parentheses.

 

Correct expression of equivalent terms:

 

live working     
live work

The preferred term and any synonyms are written on separate lines.

 

EXAMPLE 4

Correct use of capitalization:

 

Reynolds number

"Reynolds" is a proper noun. It is capitalized.

 

Incorrect use of capitalization:

 

Planned outage

"Planned" is not a proper noun. Do not capitalize this.

16.5.6 Definitions

The definition shall be written in such a form that it can replace the term in its context. It shall not start with an article ("the", "a") nor end with a full stop. A definition shall not take the form of, or contain, a requirement.

 

Only one definition per terminological entry is allowed. If a term is used to define more than one concept, a separate terminological entry shall be created for each concept and the domain shall be included in angle brackets before the definition.

 

EXAMPLE

 

2.1.17
die
<extrusion>metal block with a shaped orifice through which plastic material is extruded

 

2.1.18
die
<moulding>assembly of parts enclosing the cavity from which the moulding takes its form

 

Circular definitions, which repeat the term being defined, are not allowed.

16.5.7 Examples

Examples provide information that illustrates the concept. Examples shall not contain requirements (use of "shall") or any information considered indispensable for the use of the document, for example instructions (imperative mood), recommendations (use of "should") or permission (use of "may"). Examples should be written as a statement of fact.

 

Examples to terminological entries are designated "EXAMPLE" and shall be numbered starting with "1" within each terminological entry. A single example in a terminological entry shall not be numbered.

16.5.8 Non-verbal representations

Figures and formulae may be included within a terminological entry. The definition may take the form of a formula. Refer to ISO 10241-1.

16.5.9 Notes to entry

A note to a terminological entry (referred to as "Note # to entry") follows different rules from a note ("NOTE #") integrated in the text (see Clause 24). It provides additional information that supplements the terminological data, e.g.:

  • provisions (statements, instructions, recommendations or requirements) relating to the use of a term,
  • information regarding the units applicable to a quantity, or
  • an explanation of the reasons for selecting an abbreviated form as the preferred term.

Notes to entry shall be numbered starting with "1" within each terminological entry. A single note to entry shall be numbered.

 

Table 8 summarizes how to use notes and footnotes within documents.

 

EXAMPLE 1

3.1.4

continuous scale

scale with a continuum of possible values

 

EXAMPLE Interval scale and ratio scale.

 

Note 1 to entry: A continuous scale can be transformed into a discrete scale, by grouping "values". This inevitably leads to some loss of information. Often the resulting discrete scale will be ordinal.

 

Note 2 to entry: Scale resolution can be adversely affected by measurement system limitations. Such measurement limitations can, sometimes, give rise to measurements being represented on a discrete, ordinal, scale.

 

[SOURCE:ISO 3534-2:2006, 1.1.4]

 

EXAMPLE 2

3.6

moisture content mass by volume

mass of evaporable water divided by volume of dry material

 

Note 1 to entry: The method of evaporating water from a moist material shall be stated when this term is used.

16.5.10 Source

If a terminological entry is reproduced from another document, the source shall be given at the end of the entry. If any changes are made to the original terminological entry, this shall be indicated, along with a description of what has been modified. A document given as a source of a terminological entry is informative. Within a terminological entry, cross-references can also be made to terms defined elsewhere.

 

EXAMPLE

3.1.2

terminological entry

part of a terminological data collection which contains the terminological data (3.1.3) related to one concept (3.2.1)

 

Note 1 to entry: A terminological entry prepared in accordance with the principles and methods given in ISO 704 follows the same structural principles whether it is monolingual or multilingual.

 

[SOURCE: ISO 1087-1:2000, 3.8.2, modified – Note 1 to entry has been added.]

16.5.11 Footnotes

Footnotes to any part of a terminological entry are not allowed.

 

Table 8 summarizes how to use notes and footnotes within documents.

 

16.6 Overview of the main elements of a terminological entry

Figure 1 gives an overview of the main elements of a terminological entry.

 

Figure 1 – Overview of the main elements of a terminological entry

 

16.7 Other elements of a terminological entry

Other data categories may be included in a terminological entry, such as:

  • country codes;
  • grammatical information;
  • pronunciation.

Refer to ISO 10241-1 for the general requirements and examples.

 

 

Additional IEC tools and rules

The IEC provides two companion documents to explain the rules for drafting and presentation of terms and definitions not only in IEC standards but also in the International Electrotechnical Vocabulary (IEV). The two documents use complementary colour coding to identify the various elements of a terminological entry.

  • For the document author: "Drafting terminology – Crib sheet external" illustrates the main elements of a terminological entry, and provides a brief description of the rules applicable to each element together with cross-references to the ISO/IEC Directives, Part 2, and the IEC Supplement.
  • For the speaker: "Drafting terminology – Examples and explanatory notes" provides typical examples of terminological entries that illustrate the basic rules for drafting and presentation. The presentation also provides Notes (explaining the rules in greater detail) for the speaker.
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Drafting terminology PowerPoint presentation Drafting terminology - Examples and explanatory notes - v4.ppt 2312 kB
Drafting terminology - Crib sheet external Drafting terminology - Crib sheet external - v4.pdf installation and user guide icon 124 kB