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Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) systems for transmission of business messages using compact standardized formats were promulgated in the 1970s.
As standards became more complex to handle additional message types and variants, the utility of simpler, semantically-enabled, systems became apparent. We have started to ontologize EDI standards to enable the creation of semantically enabled messages which are backwardly compatible with traditional EDI systems. Through ontologizing EDI syntax, automatic calculation of the intersection of message formats - necessary for initiating new EDI collaborations - is enabled even before the semantics is ontologized. Encoding the message format is a necessary first step, while standardizing the contents will later foster a precise understanding of EDI messages. In this work we have ontologized the ANSI X12 EDI syntax and encoded it in several ontology languages.