The United Nations Standard Products and Services Code (UNSPSC) is a taxonomy of products and services for use in eCommerce. It is a five-level hierarchy coded as an 8-digit number.
The UNSPSC was jointly developed by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Dun & Bradstreet Corporation in 1998 and is currently managed by GS1 US, which is responsible for overseeing code change requests, revising the codes and issuing regularly scheduled updates to the code, as well as managing special projects and initiatives.
The UNSPSC was created upon the signature of a Memorandum of Understanding signed on September 29, 1998 by John S. Svendsen, the director of the Inter-agency Procurement Services Office (IAPSO) of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and on November 1, 1998 by Lawrence M. Barth, a Vice President of the Dun & Bradstreet Corporation. The development of the first version was overseen by Peter R. Benson, who was also responsible for the design and development of the code management procedure as a modification of the Delphi statistical forecasting method. The process allowed for the rapid development of consensus without dominance or influence.
The ECCMA, a non-profit membership association, was formed in 1999 to manage and promote the UNSPSC until March 2003, with the release of version 6.0315. The UNDP then appointed GS1 US as code manager in May 2003 and ECCMA develops the ECCMA Open Technical Dictionary (eOTD) and the international standards ISO 22745 and ISO 8000.
The current version consists of more than 50000 terms. The codeset is available in English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Dutch, Mandarin Chinese, Portuguese, Danish, Norwegian, Swedish, and Hungarian. PDF versions of the codeset are available for free download. A version in Microsoft Excel format is available to members, who can also request changes and suggest additions to the code.
The UNSPSC for a given item is composed of five two-digit identifiers, which together categorize the item into a five-level hierarchy. The five levels of the classification are "Segment", "Family", "Class", "Commodity", and "Business Function". Business Function is optional.
- Segment 44. Office Equipment and Accessories and Supplies.
- Family 10. Office machines and their supplies and accessories.
- Class 15. Duplicating machines.
- Commodity 01. Photocopiers.
- Business Function 14. Retail.
Industrial products and services categorization standards
- Paper Products and Services Ontologies: A Methodology for Deriving OWL Ontologies from Industrial Categorization Standards, Int'l Journal on Semantic Web & Information Systems (IJSWIS), Vol. 2, No. 1, pp. 72 99, January March 2006.
- Paper GenTax: A Generic Methodology for Deriving OWL and RDF-S Ontologies from Hierarchical Classifications, Thesauri, and Inconsistent Taxonomies, Proceedings of the 4th European Semantic Web Conference (ESWC 2007), June 3 7, Innsbruck, Austria, in: E. Fraconi, M. Kifer, and W. May (Eds.): ESWC 2007, LNCS 4519, Springer 2007, pp. 129 144.
- Paper A Quantitative Analysis of Product Categorization Standards: Content, Coverage, and Maintenance of eCl@ss, UNSPSC, eOTD, and the RosettaNet Technical Dictionary, Knowledge and Information Systems (KAIS), Springer, , 2007.gh
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