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The United Nations Standard Products and Services Code (UNSPSC) is a taxonomy of products and services for use in eCommerce. It is a four-level hierarchy coded as an eight-digit number, with an optional fifth level adding two more digits.
The latest release of the code set is 16_0901, released February 2014. and contains over 50,000 commodities.
The UNSPSC competes with a number of other product and commodity coding schemes, including the European Union's Common Procurement Vocabulary, Germany's Eclass, and GS1's Global Product Classification.
The four primary levels of the code are: Segment, Family, Class and Commodity.
Each level is coded in two decimal digits, with '00' treated specially to give segments, families and classes their own eight-digit codes.
|Segment||10000000||Live Plant and Animal Material and Accessories and Supplies|
Thus 'Cats' are coded as 10101501, 'Dogs' are coded as 10101502 and 'Cattle' as 10101516. The class of 'Livestock' is 10101500; the family of 'Live animals' is 10100000, and all in the segment 10000000 of 'Live Plant and Animal Material and Accessories and Supplies'.
|Segment||44000000||Office Equipment, Accessories and Supplies|
|Class||44121900||Ink and lead refills|
Optionally, a further two digits can be added for the business function, such as 'retail' or wholesale.
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.
Availability and languages
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.
Industrial products and services categorization standards
- Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS)
- North American Industry Classification System (NAICS)
- Point code
- Standard Industrial Classification (SIC)
- United Nations International Standard Industrial Classification (UNISIC)
- Cavinato, Joseph L.; Flynn, Anna E.; Kauffman, Ralph G. (2006). The supply management handbook. McGraw-Hill Professional. p. 439.
- 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, doi:10.1007/s10115-006-0054-2, 2007.gh