Knowledge and Information Systems

, Volume 13, Issue 1, pp 77–114 | Cite as

A quantitative analysis of product categorization standards: content, coverage, and maintenance of eCl@ss, UNSPSC, eOTD, and the RosettaNet Technical Dictionary

  • Martin HeppEmail author
  • Joerg Leukel
  • Volker Schmitz
Regular Paper


Many e-business scenarios require the integration of product-related data into target applications or target documents at the recipient’s side. Such tasks can be automated much better if the textual descriptions are augmented by a machine-feasible representation of the product semantics. For this purpose, categorization standards for products and services, like UNSPSC, eCl@ss, the ECCMA Open Technical Dictionary (eOTD), or the RosettaNet Technical Dictionary (RNTD) are available, but they vary in terms of structural properties and content. In this paper, we present metrics for assessing the content quality and maturity of such standards and apply these metrics to eCl@ss, UNSPSC, eOTD, and RNTD. Our analysis shows that (1) the amount of content is very unevenly spread over top-level categories, which contradicts the promise of a broad scope implicitly made by the existence of a large number of top-level categories, and that (2) more expressive structural features exist only for parts of these standards. Additionally, we (3) measure the amount of maintenance in the various top-level categories, which helps identify the actively maintained subject areas as compared to those which ones are rather dead branches. Finally, we show how our approach can be used (4) by enterprises for selecting an appropriate standard, and (5) by standards bodies for monitoring the maintenance of a standard as a whole.


Products and services classification Metrics UNSPSC eCl@ss RosettaNet Ontologies Electronic commerce Electronic catalogs 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London Limited 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Digital Enterprise Research Institute, Semantics in Business Information Systems GroupUniversity of InnsbruckInnsbruckAustria
  2. 2.Florida Gulf Coast UniversityFort MyersUSA
  3. 3.University of HohenheimStuttgartGermany
  4. 4.University of Duisburg-EssenEssenGermany

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