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Name and version: ISO/IEC 11179

Alternative name: Metadata registries (MDR)

Valid: From 2005 (edition 2)

Description: This is a standard for describing and managing the meaning and representation of data.  The basic semantic unit is a concept.  The standard is written in 6 parts, and the 2nd edition is the current version for each  Their ISO number, name, and publication date are as follows::

Part 1 - ISO/IEC 11179-1 Framework 2004

Part 2 - ISO/IEC 11179-2 Classification 2005

Part 3 - ISO/IEC 11179-3 Metamodel and basic attributes 2003

Part 4 - ISO/IEC 11179-4 Formulation of data definitions 2004

Part 5 - ISO/IEC 11179-5 Naming and identification principles 2005

Part 6 - ISO/IEC 11179-6 Registration 2005

The framework of attributes for describing the meaning and representaiton is contained in Part 3.  The management of these descriptions is done through a registry.  The procedure for which is in Part 6, and the attributes are again in Part 3.  ISO/IEC 11179 has an additional framework for attaching meaning, and that is through the use of classification.  The attributes for describing the associations between a classification scheme and data descriptions are in Part2 and again in Part 3.  Parts 4 and 5 give rules, guidelines, and principles for naiming, identification, and forming definitions.  Finally, Part 1 is an overall description and justification of the other parts.

An edition 3 is planned.  A publication date for all the parts is not yet set.  Part 3 edtion 3 is expected to be published near the end of 2010.  Significant additions are expected.

Intended use: ISO/IEC 11179 is intended to be used to manage the meaning and representation of data.  It is not intended to be used solely to capture the structure of a database.  It can be used alone or within a larger system.  Other standards make use of it as well.

Maintenance organization: ISO/IEC/JTC1/SC32

(International Organization for Standardization / International Electrotechnical Commission / Joint Technical Committee 1 - Information technology / Sub-Committee 32 - Data managment and interchange)

ISO Standard Number: ISO/IEC 11179

References: The ISO/IEC 11179 family of standards is freely and publically available at

Relationships to other standards:   Concept Map

Both DDI (Data Documentation Initiative <>) and SDMX (Statistical Data and Metadata Exchange <>)  are based on ISO/IEC 11179 for their decriptions of data and their use of concepts as a basic semantic unit.

Language: English

Description last updated / validated: 28 September 2009

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