Past terminological work in technical fields was usually concerned with the provision of a reference assist only to a small, defined community, and the products of that work— dictionaries, glossaries, and occasionally thesauri—were exclusively in print form. Several current trends put increased emphasis on terminological standardization and on the use of computer-based techniques for building and using terminological tools. Among these current trends are: 1. Broadened technical scope of terminological documents and their user populations. 2. An increased interest in computerized databases and the terminological challenges implicit in this development. 3. Increasing interest in computer-based “knowledge representation” and its implications for developing term and concept relationships and machine procedures for providing “meaning.”
These trends have encouraged terminological standardization by ever-broader consensus groups, international interest in terminological work, and increasing appreciation of the importance of terminological activity as a part of standards development. Illustrations of these trends as they relate to the materials data field and ASTM are presented.