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Current Project

Chemistry and Human Health Division (VII)
Analytical Chemistry Division (V)


Number: 2004-023-1-700

Title: Internationally agreed terminology for observations in scientific communication

Task Group
Françoise Pontet

Members: Urban Forsum, Gunnar Nordin, and Gunther Schadow

Most scientific disciplines, not only laboratory medicine, rely to some extent on observations in addition to measurable quantities. An integrated explanatory treatise and vocabulary explaining and exploring the conceptual relationship between observations and measurements is the main outcome of this project.

The C-NPU subcommittee, maintained as a joint IFCC-IUPAC activity for two decades, has as its main task to promote and maintain scientifically and conceptually sound ways of expressing the outcome of measurements and other examinations in laboratory medicine. The NPU coding scheme and vocabulary, based on the SI system, concepts theory and high-level international standards should be the cornerstone for expressing measurements within international communication standards. The proposed project should be used to explain and extend the systematic description of properties to observable properties.

> access C-NPU via the Subcommittee homepage

Scientists of disciplines in laboratory medicine has long recognized the need of a common language for efficient and safe request of investigations, report of results, and communication of experience and scientific achievements. To achieve this the IFCC and the IUPAC in a joint project have developed a metrologically based coding scheme based on progress in modern classification science. In collaboration with professionals in a series of medical specialties a coding scheme has evolved that fulfils the needs in electronic communication and data presentation. The C-NPU coding scheme provides a global standardized classification and coding scheme for properties examined in laboratory medicine based on kind-of-property, component and system and is basic if a coherent system with global acceptance is to be worked out. The C-NPU generic database is published under the URL: <http://dior.imt.liu.se/cnpu/>.

Such a coding scheme needs to deal with properties that are observed in the medical laboratory that are not defined by the seven dimensions of the SI system for measuring quantities with its primitive concepts defined in the VIM (International Vocabulary of Basic and General Terms in Metrology). The vocabulary VIM is designed for metrology: science of measurement. However, most scientific disciplines, not only laboratory medicine, rely also, some predominantly, on observation and it could be commendable to design a vocabulary shared by both observations and measurements.

Typical cases are several technical reports in PAC authored by the C-NPU that relies heavily on observable properties such as "taxon" because of the nature of the observed properties in for example clinical microbiology or molecular biology.

The present project is aimed at developing a common framework for a project meant to integrate and also explain to the laboratory medicine workers the meaning of and usefulness of such an integrated view of the concepts property and in a more restricted sense quantity.

> Nov 2004 report update (pdf file - 13KB)

> May 2006 report update (pdf file - 14KB)

> June 2007 - A second version of the text has been drafted and distributed for comments within the task group and the sub-committee during our last meeting in early December 2006. Completion anticipated by the end of 2008.


Last Update: 2 July 2007

<project announcement published in Chem. Int. Nov-Dec 2004 >


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Page last modified 2 July 2007.
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