Working towards the next version of the SWIM Supporting Material

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Information definition language




An information definition shall be written in English using the spelling listed as the primary British spelling when conflicting spellings exist.


By using a single reference language, the risk of translation ambiguities when comparing information definitions and the concepts they contain is removed.




Note: This requirement does not apply to implementation details that are reflected in the content of the information definition e.g. identifiers for concepts.

Level of Implementation



This requirement ensures:

  • English is to be used in information definitions. Obviously this means that other languages are not to be used.
  • As well as standardising on a language, the specification imposes a requirement on use of British spelling in cases where spelling variants exist. The goal of this is to promote consistency.    The same effect could have been achieved by imposing American spelling. Neither spelling form is "better" than the other, the point is only that ONE has to be selected.   

The primary British spelling is normally made clear in online dictionaries such as the Oxford Living Dictionary. The figure below gives an obvious example of the variant spellings.

The one obvious exception to this requirement is the implementation details such as identifiers for concepts. In general, these tend to be alphanumeric strings and contain no semantics.

Verification Support


Check that:

[  ] The information definition is written in English.

[  ] The information definition uses the primary British spelling when conflicting spellings of a word exist.


The example below shows how a language declaration can be embedded into an XML schema.

A complete example is available at: complete example.

Example of SWIM-INFO-002

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