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The Compilation of ASTM Standard Definitions  is an admirable work that helps members identify the concepts they need and find approved terms to designate them. Unfortunately, it has two major limitations, but they can be corrected quite easily, especially if the information is put into machine readable form via a low (or no) cost hypertext system. The first limitation involves a lack of the symbols needed to indicate how these concepts are related to each other in a system. Such symbols could easily be developed and displayed through an index. The second limitation arises from the potential for ambiguity created by the use of some keywords to designate more than one concept. This problem can easily be overcome by adding supplementary terms that represent only one concept in this system. An important obstacle to doing this arises from the confusing use of some technical terms borrowed from lexicography, notably polysemy and homonymy. If they could be replaced by more appropriate terms, rooted in the requirements of terminology work, this second difficulty could more easily be overcome.
ASTM Compilation, concept representation, concept system, descriptive terminology, equivocal term, homonymy, hypertext, index, lexicography, polysemy, term, terminology, unequivocal term
Editor, University of Hawaii, Manoa, Honolulu