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The ETIM Classification model is built using the following categories or entities:

  • Product groups

  • Product classes

  • Synonyms (Keywords)

  • Features

  • Values

  • Units

A schematic view of the model and its relations:

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All classes, features, values and units have a clear and unique identifier that is language-independent; the description of the entities however is language-dependent.


The ETIM model is a two-level classification model. The two-levels consist of the product group and product classes. The product group is used to order the product classes. Every product class is assigned to exactly one product group. Nevertheless, ETIM is organized flat, because the groups are only for the convenient organization of the management of the product classes. Essential – and that is the real focus of ETIM- is the definition of product classes and their features.


Describes similar products, bundles products of different manufacturers or suppliers; all product classes have features to specify the technical characteristics of the products in the class, the features of each class are ordered due to their importance and are also structured meaningful (dimensions, features of electrical data, …).

Features and types

A feature is clearly described by: description, feature type, unit and/or value.

A – alphanumeric = list of possible values (e.g. red, green, long, short, …)
L – logic = yes or no questions (also known as Boolean; “true” or “false”)
N – numeric = one numeric value
R – range = two numeric values that limit a range of values


To each alphanumeric feature of an ETIM class, a fixed list of possible values is assigned; the order of this value list of a feature within an ETIM class is sorted language-dependent; so the value list of the feature “EF000007 – Colour” can be different in each ETIM class that uses this feature.


Numerical and range features always need a unit of measurement which defines what value is expected. An exception are features like “number of…”. These numerical features do not need a unit.


Also often referred to as “keyword”, it means an alternative name for a product class (not for a product group) and a reference to several product classes is possible, a product class can have several synonyms, synonyms are not related to each other. A synonym does not have an ID, it is directly assigned to an ETIM class (language-dependent).

The local ETIM organization is responsible for the synonyms in the local language. Since there is not yet a (native English speaking) local ETIM organization in Great Britain, the TC has the final responsibility regarding the English language version, including the synonyms.


An example of an ETIM class which contains all relevant feature types:

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