Standards are written in specialized language and contain many nonlinguistic elements (such as diagrams, symbols, etc.). The preparation and layout of standards documents is subject to detailed guidelines. The contents and wording of such documents must comply with strict requirements concerning homogeneity, consistency, and style across all standards documents. The authority vested in standards documents gives them a status that is second only to legal documents. If the requirements stated here cannot be fulfilled, standards documents would lose their authoritative character.
Terminological methods and terminological data are indispensable for information management, as well as for information and knowledge processing. They can therefore become an essential component in the quality control criteria applied to standards documents, information management associated with standards production, and even to information management maintained in conjunction with the standardization activities conducted by a standards organization.
In order to enhance the production of standards documents, data processing (DP) tools and methods can be applied, such as word processing, desktop publishing, electronic publishing, etc. The Standard Generalized Markup Language (SGML) provides an ideal solution for the production of standards documents by assigning unambiguous tags to any part of a standards text having distinct layout features or otherwise requiring nonlayout-related logical coding within the text. In order to gain control over the content of the standards document and to ensure homogeneity and consistency, a terminology database (TDB) can be employed. In addition to the standardized vocabulary of a standards body, this TDB should contain: 1. Other terminological units occurring in standards texts (for term checking purposes). 2. LSP phraseological units (for style checking purposes). 3. Text modules (e.g., parts of definitions).
When combined with traditional methods and tools of documentation (e.g., indexing), fulltext retrieval of standards information could also be highly effective if terminological methods and data markup are employed for retrieval purposes.