Terms used in the context
of Product Data Management

PIM, SKU, DQ, CSV, TMS or XML. In the world of Product Information Management, there are countless abbreviations and technical terms. If you are unsure about any of these terms and you need an explanation or definition, you will find the answer to your question in our PIM glossary.

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Trade item or merchandise. An article is a specific variant of a product. It is a physical object.

Assortments are used to define subsets of the product master file that are published, for example, in catalogues or online shops.

Attributes are properties that describe an article or a product that are not included in the classification systems’ categories.


The best-of-breed method aims to find the best possible solution (from different vendors) for each application area of enterprise software and to integrate it as an overall solution to the problem.

In catalogue management, it designates a rich XML standard used for exchanging catalogue data.


In the broadest sense, the term “catalogue” comprises objects that are available either as printed media (print catalogues) or in an electronic format (file, database).

Catalogue format
Denotes catalogue files such as BMEcat, XLS, CSV, xCBL, cXML and Datanorm.

Assigning an object (such as an article or product) to a structured system.

Cross-Media Publishing. Cross-media publishing of content (texts and images) based on media-independent data.

Content Management System. An editing system used to manage content, for example of a website. Content and layout are edited separately.


Customer Relationship Management. A strategic approach that encompasses the planning, management and implementation of all customer business processes.

Comma-separated values. CSV is a simple text file format for exchanging simply structured data. Values are stored in a table as a series of ASCII text lines organised so that each column value is separated by a character (a comma or semicolon) from the next column’s value and each row starts a new line.


Database Publishing
Database contents such as article number, price and product information are used to fill in pre-formatted layout documents and to update them automatically when there are changes to the database items.

A (German) file format used to exchange article master data between product supplier, wholesaler and craft enterprises.

Data field
Data object of a particular type, e.g. belonging to the data type “product”. Data types have data fields where content can be stored, e.g. the data type “product” comprises the data fields “description” and “manufacturer”. There are simple and qualified data fields. Qualified fields need to be further specified using additional settings (e.g. the language).

Data source
Each data source contains several data fields. Which data fields can be selected depends on the data type and subtype of the data source. At the time of export, the data source supplies the data. A data source can be further specified through parameters, e.g. the data source “article list” may have a data field “article number” and the subtype “attribute”.

Data type

A data type specifies the data category of a data source, a variable, and all data source or post-export parameters. Each data source, variable and parameter can only have one data type. Possible data types are: clients, suppliers, sales discount groups, structure groups and structure system.

Document Management System. A system used to manage, track (in terms of history tracking) and store documents (PDF, CAD drawings etc.)

Data Quality Management. A business process that checks if the data has the required values, valid data types, etc., and performs data cleansing and standardisation tasks automatically.

DTP document
Desktop-publishing document. For example, an Adobe InDesign document that is the result of a print export, which still requires subsequent (layout) editing.


eClass / eCl@ss
A product and services classification standard that is used across all industry sectors.

An entity – also called information object – defines, in the data modelling context, a uniquely identified object used to store or process information. The object may be tangible or intangible, concrete or abstract. Attributes identify the properties of entities.

Electronic Product Code: a universal identifier encoded on RFID tags (also RFID).

Electronic procurement. E-Procurement denotes the business-to-business purchase of products through digital networks.

ERP system
Enterprise Resource Planning system. ERP systems are comprehensive merchandise planning and control systems used to efficiently manage resources such as capital, personnel, materials, supplies, IT systems, goods and logistics.

Enterprise Service Bus. An integrated platform that provides basic interaction and communication services for complex software applications via an event-driven and standards-based messaging engine or through a bus-like infrastructure.  It is often based on middleware infrastructure product technologies.

Electro-Technical Information Model. Initiative to standardise the electronic exchange of product data for electrical and electronic products in cooperation with the industry, retail and the trades.

Setting up a list of requirements to be met by a software solution. Evaluation is considered the most critical step to ensure success.


Within the scope of classification systems, features are property identifiers that are defined for all products and articles in order to ensure comparability


Global Location Number. Part of the GS1 standards system. A tool to uniquely identify a location.

Golden Record
Refers to the practice of consolidating all information about the customer such that all corresponding data is stored in a single data record and that it can be distributed as one.

Global Product Classification. Part of the GS1 classification system.

Global Trade Item Number. A globally unique 14-digit number used to identify trade items, products or services.


List of providers/vendors who, in principle, meet the requirements established during the evaluation phase.


Media Asset Management / Digital Asset Management. System to manage digital content, mainly media data such as images and audio-visual media data, that can be used to visualise articles.

Master Data Management. It aims to improve, in the long run, data quality and to ensure data consistency across all applications.

Data that is media-independent or media-neutral is not specific to individual output channels and can be distributed to any channel.


Product Data Management. Use of software to manage all product-related data generated during the product life cycle.

Product Information Management. System to centrally manage product-related data used to provide product information for Omnichannel commerce.

Product Life cycle Management. A process or system used to seamlessly integrate all data associated with the life of a product. PLM systems are also used to align product versions.

Denotes a group of articles and cannot be sold.

Product master file
The product master file covers the complete range of products of a retailer. It includes selected articles of suppliers and manufacturers that have previously been imported into the product master file. The product master file provides e-catalogues and publishing media with current data.

An independent and neutral initiative to classify product data in the field of building trade and HVAC service providers within a consistent classification system.


Requirement Traceability Matrix. A Requirement Traceability Matrix can be used to validate current project requirements and determine whether these requirements are met.


Subdivision of inventory items into several (three) product segments, e.g. in the standard range.

A list of selected candidates compiled from a longlist. It includes vendors that meet the requirements (also in terms of price) stated in an RFQ or similar.

Supplier Portal.

Structural system
Structural systems can be used to subdivide articles into structured classes. Standard structural systems such as eClass or UNSPSC may be used, but it is also possible to define and implement your own structural system.


Translation Memory. Database that contains existing translations that can be reused.

Translation Memory System or Translation Management System. Software that effectively facilitates translation projects by centralising, automating, and reusing existing content throughout the translation process.


United Nations Standard Products and Services Code. A (US) taxonomy of products and services for use in eCommerce.


A defined sequence of processes or tasks that reflects all steps of existing business processes.


Extensible Mark-up Language. An extended mark-up language (text file format).



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