Concept Domain Definition Style Guide

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This is a work in progress!!

Last updated on: (YYYY-MM-DD)

Date of initial approval: (YYYY-MM-DD)


In order to provide consistency on how concept domain definitions should start, a style guide is required to ensure best practices are followed. A portion of this content leverages the ISO_DTR Development of terms and definitions for the Health Informatics Glossary document.


Through a quick scan of definitions formulated for existing conecpt domains, we have the following types of starting the definitions:

  • “Types of…”
  • “Indicates…”
  • "The type of…”
  • “Codes for…”
  • “The Act of….”
  • “Used to identify…”
  • “Denotes…”
  • “Represents types of…”
  • “Sets of codes…”
  • “Indication of….”
  • “Codes representing…”
  • “Includes codes…”
  • “List of…”
  • “Describes types of…”
  • “A code specifying…”

And so on and so forth…


The definition should

• Not include the term or its synonym/s or abbreviations or other forms (noun instead of verb) in the definition

• Use dictionary style. Phrases such as “Word means” or “This describes a situation in which” should be edited out for final definition.

• Write the definition to match the part of speech. If a verb the definition will probably begin with ‘to’. Nouns are likely to begin with ‘a’ or ‘the’.

• The definition should define the concept, while the Usage Comment should give examples, and describe in more detail what is meant. Do not include long rambling examples, or inclusions in the definition as this will make harmonisation more difficult.

• Use simple language. Where there is a highly complex definition used by a specialist area of the community, this should be given the context – Formal (as in formal definition), while the simple plain language version of the definition should be the one used as the ‘core definition’ the one used across all contexts not declared.