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Traceability Fundamentals


This chapter seeks to provide a reference resource on traceability fundamentals. It defines the essential traceability terminology of trace, trace artifact, trace link, traceability and tracing, and is supplemented by an extensive glossary that has been developed and endorsed by members of the traceability community. This chapter also offers a model of a generic traceability process and describes the essential activities involved in the life cycle of a trace. This model has been used as a frame of reference for articulating the grand challenge of traceability, as reported in the chapter by Gotel et al. of this book. The chapter also describes the basic types of traceability and explains a number of key associated concepts.


  • Trace Link
  • Traceability Solution
  • Link Semantic
  • Trace Relation
  • System Development Process

These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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  1. 1.

    Section 3 of this chapter includes reproduced material from Center of Excellence for Software Traceability Technical Report #CoEST-2011-001, with permission. Please direct any feedback on this material via the CoEST website (

  2. 2.

    Version 1.0 of the traceability glossary is provided as an appendix to this book and the latest version of the glossary is maintained at Please note that all glossary terms are defined using U.S. English.


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Gotel, O. et al. (2012). Traceability Fundamentals. In: Cleland-Huang, J., Gotel, O., Zisman, A. (eds) Software and Systems Traceability. Springer, London.

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