SYMPOSIA PAPER Published: 01 January 1988

Management of Technical Terminology in Standards Organizations


The pioneering work of Wuster carried on by Felber in Austria, together with the activities of the Vienna School of Terminology and its progeny INFOTERM, have established principles of terminology practice and management that are well accepted in worldwide terminology circles. It appears, however, that in the United States this work is little known or ignored in consensus standards organizations.

In 1982 the ASTM symposium Terminology: The Cornerstone of Global Communications Through Standards (later made into an STP entitled Standardization of Technical Terminology: Principles and Practices), sponsored by the ASTM Standing Committee on Terminology, brought to the attention of that standards organization the realization that terminology has become a recognized technology, if not a science. Therefore, ASTM ought to use the principles and practices of technical terminology to manage the development and maintenance of the special vocabularies specific to ASTM technical committees. This usage will result in coherent and efficient employment of term concepts and meanings to give authority, credibility, and improved user comprehension to the pertinent standards.

The purpose of this paper is: (1) to relate experiences of ASTM technical committees in the process of revising their separate terminology standards; and (2) to show how a uniform system of terminology management, tailored to the special requirements of those committees, can produce terminology standards that are useful and probably essential to the experts within the committees and to the larger group of users, who do not have specialized knowledge of the field.

These committee experiences within one standards organization indicate procedures that would lead to a uniform policy of terminology management by the ASTM Committee on Terminology, and more widely, to improved and uniform terminology development in U.S. standards bodies.

Author Information

Ellis, WP
, Harleysville, PA
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Developed by Committee: E02
Pages: 62–70
DOI: 10.1520/STP29552S
ISBN-EB: 978-0-8031-5059-1
ISBN-13: 978-0-8031-1183-7