EDI implementation assistance

There are three main components to implementing the Despatch Data transaction.

1. Export from your business system of a file containing the necessary shipment data.

2. Translation of the file into one of two formats endorsed by the International Committee for EDI for Serials (ICEDIS). Either an EDIFACT D.96A DESADV message, or an X12 856 003010 Ship Notice.

3. Transfer of the data to your trading partners, via any one of several possible methods.
Steps one and three are not explicitly governed by any standard, so you can accomplish them in the fashion you choose. Subscription Agents may receive publisher dispatch data via value-added network, via e-mail attachment, and via FTP. Verify the details of the exchange
mechanisms with your trading partner.

The “regulated” aspect of this transaction is the EDI file format. Unfortunately, it also tends to be the biggest hurdle to implementation. If you have no experience with EDI, you might consider hiring a consultant who can teach you the basics, or even develop your facility for
sending the data. EDI file formats bear no resemblance to HTML, SGML, fixed length ASCII formats, or the delimited formats that are commonly imported and exported from spreadsheet and database software.

Some publishers have chosen to merge step one and two, so that they generate an X12 or EDIFACT file format directly from their business system. Others have chosen to use off-the-shelf EDI translation software to turn their internal file format into one of the required EDI formats.

There are many choices for off-the-shelf software. Shown below is a recent survey of ICEDIS members concerning what software they use – together with URLs for the companies that sell the software. The decision about such software is usually made by a comparison of the desired hardware/op system platform, cost, and features. There are many good EDI software products for the windows environment, and others for mid-range and mainframe computers.

Blackwell and EBSCO use Mercator.

Elsevier and Faxon use DEC/EDI.

Kluwer, Turpin, and Wiley US use EDI/EDGE.

Harrassowitz uses EDI*Sys.

Springer-Verlag uses EDI*STAR.

Wiley UK uses Perwill. For information, call their office in
the UK. 44 1420 545000

Springer also recommends the following useful EDI links:


GE Information Services (GEIS):


All the ICEDIS members are currently exchanging their dispatch data in the X12 format, but this is slated for change over the next year or so. One reason is that the X12 format at the level 003010 of the current guideline contains dates in the YYMMDD format. Though many of us
could manage to tolerate this format – we have decided it would be best to migrate to EDIFACT with its CCYYMMDD date formats by the end of Q3 1999. EDIFACT also has been widely implemented internationally, while X12 has been used primarily in North America. Therefore, we encourage new implementors to start off with EDIFACT.

The guideline for the ICEDIS EDIFACT DESADV transaction can be pulled off the EDItEUR web site.

EDItEUR is an international standards organization based in the UK which has converted existing serials industry X12 standards into EDIFACT. ICEDIS and EDItEUR have a cooperative relationship to migrate X12 transactions to EDIFACT and to develop new EDIFACT transactions for the serials industry.

When you attach to the EDItEUR site, click your way into the Electronic Forum page. You may be asked for an ID and password. Type in anything you please. It will recognize you as a new registrant. Fill in their little registration form. It is free. Then you can change your id and password to anything else you please. When you are in the forum, click on the serials
messages. Once you are in there, you will see an e-mail from Brian Green with all the guidelines documents attached as PDF files. You can click on the S3V11.PDF Despatch Advice file to download it. These are the guidelines to govern how you build the file you will send to serials agents. There is some example data in the guideline.

One thing you will see in this data is the prominent use of the Serial Item Contribution Identifier (SICI) to identify the issue being shipped or scheduled for shipment. This string is a mandatory data element in the dispatch data transaction, and its creation is governed by the
Z39.56 standard. There is a 1991 version 1 of Z39.56 and 1996 version 2. Agents can accept either one. In the attached files, only C:\Eudora\Attach\Eastview_dispatch.x12; uses version 2 SICIs.

To make sense of this X12 format data, you will need to obtain the specification under which it was created. That document is available from the Serials Industry Systems Advisory Committee (SISAC) in New York City. The best approach to getting this document is to go through the SISAC Web site. If you read down through the information, under the heading
“SISAC Tools” is the address information for where to write for the SISAC X12 manual, and also the Z39.56 standard. The web site also has a table of contents for the SISAC
manual. Sandy Paul, the managing agent for SISAC on this document can provide assistance in getting these documents.