Case Study: Designing ebXML — The Work of UN/CEFACT

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Abstract

The United Nations Centre for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business (UN/CEFACT) is a standardization organization that became well known for creating and maintaining the UN/EDIFACT standards (Berge 1994) for EDI (Hill and Ferguson 1989). In 1999, due to the growing popularity of XML, UN/CEFACT also started to look for an XML solution which should be compatible with existing UN/EDIFACT to protect the huge investments already made worldwide. UN/CEFACT’s Techniques and Methodology Working Group (TMWG) was responsible for doing a feasibility study on using XML for B2B information transfer. The TMWG report on this subject rejected the idea of creating ‘Yet Another XML Solution’ by converting EDIFACT to XML. This decision was mainly based on the fact that a syntactical transformation would hardly solve any EDI problem, but would just add another e-business vocabulary to the XML world (Li 2000).