International Electrotechnical Commission
IEC 61355 - Collection of standardized and established document kinds

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General description
Document kinds by:


The IEC 61355 database is organized as a set of "data sheets" describing different document kinds and their attributes. Please click on "General description" on the left panel to see how the database is structured, how to use the document kinds and how to process requests for new ones.

In this context “document kind” is a “type of document defined with respect to its specified content of information and form of presentation”, where document is understood as “fixed and structured amount of information intended for human perception that can be managed and interchanged as a unit between users and systems”.


The database is bilingual with all descriptions available in English and French. While viewing a descriptive sheet you can switch back and forth between the two languages.


All items in blue, including the arrow triangles in the categorized views, represent links to other elements or to specific action.

Finding a document kind

The IEC 61355 database provides two methods for finding a document kind:

1. Search function
    The query is processed in the language specified. You can use an asterisk (*) as a wildcard and combine two search terms with a boolean "AND" or "OR" operator. The following fields are used in constructing the query: Name, Alternative names, Keywords and Document kind identity number (e.g. D00023).
2. Categorized views
    Document kinds are categorized by document kind identity number, DCC, keyword, application area, activity area, presentation form and status level. After selecting a view click on the blue arrow to expand the list. Clicking on an item reference (in blue) brings up the detail page. Within the detail page there may be further links to related document kinds, application notes, etc.
Documentation is necessary for the provision of information for all activities during the life-cycle of technical products which include plants, systems and equipment. It may be produced in any phase or activity. Documents may be received from and delivered to other parties. Different parties may need different information or different views on the same information, depending on what is most suitable for the intended purpose.

In the international standard IEC 61355-1 and in this supporting database IEC 61355 DB the term "document" is used in a very general sense. It covers information on all possible media on which data can be recorded. However the description of document kinds is derived from the paper-based presentation of this information, i.e. how the information is made visible and readable for the user.

One aim of this standard is to establish a method for better communication and understanding between parties involved in document interchange. In order to get a basis for a system, it is necessary to disregard, more or less, what a document is sometimes called today. Different names are in use for the same document kind or the names may have different meanings for different parties. The purpose and object of interest are sometimes also part of document titles, which hampers general understanding. Therefore the basis for a common understanding should be a classification scheme which is based only on the content of information.

The principle of classification also covers the needs of computer-based documentation in general. An increasing amount of information will be stored and interchanged in a standardized data base format. The information to be delivered may be specified in such a way that each document kind required and agreed by parties can be derived from that data base by the receiver's computer system. This may initiate future standardization work, for example on information and data elements, detailed document kind definitions and detailed presentation rules.

Although this standard has been prepared mainly by experts from the field of electrotechnology, high value was set on the integration of non-electrotechnical documents. Experts from the more ISO-related fields of technology made considerable input to this document.


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Web page created 2020-07-14
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