S1000D - What is it?

S1000D is an international specification for technical publications for the procurement and production of technical publications for aerospace, defense and capital-intensive equipment applications.

Originally introduced to the European community by the Association Européenne des Constructeurs de Matériel Aérospatial (AECMA), the specification represented the aerospace industry. Today, S1000D is supported by the successor to AECMA, the AeroSpace and Defence Industries of Europe (ASD), and the Aerospace Industries Association of America (AIA).

The specification is controlled by the Technical Publications Specification Management Group (TPSMG), which has the full responsibility of maintaining S1000D. TPSMG includes members from both government agencies and industry. To address the rapid development of information technology, a group of specialists, the Electronic Publications Working Group (EPWG), supports the TPSMG in technical matters.

The core S1000D principle of information reuse, or Data Modules, produces information structured in ways that make it deliverable in a wide variety of electronic formats, as well as traditional printed manuals. Adoption of S1000D has been driven by its ability to:

• Reduce documentation costs
• Improve information accuracy
• Decrease time to market

An introduction to S1000D

S1000D is not just another standard — it forces a fundamental change in the traditional process of developing information. Creating individual technical manuals that comply with one standard or another is no longer the game plan. Most projects require that a database be skillfully populated with tens of thousands of reusable components that can instantly be assembled into cohesive and accurate electronic guides.

The biggest gap left by existing information development tools is the management function for S1000D projects — all the upfront module and database definitions, maintaining the integrity of that database during the development process, and then final assembly and extraction of the information. There is still a paramount authoring function to be performed, but it is a task devoid of traditional formatting concerns that are now stipulated in, and controlled by, project stylesheets. Authoring is clearly content-centric, but with new and unfamiliar rules.

Because S1000D was created to give instant access to current, accurate information, providing viewing capabilities is critical. Contracts frequently specify other real world requirements to publish S1000D documents as printed manuals, or in other electronic file formats. Also advantageous are productivity aids to assist with the transition from existing military and equipment specifications to S1000D. As S1000D continues its widespread adoption, a new breed of production and publishing solutions have evolved to face these needs and challenges.

Why S1000D Matters

Most experts will agree that the single greatest benefit offered by S1000D is the ability to reuse data. With S1000D, specific Data Modules are created (containing text and/or graphics), and then stored in the Common Source Database (CSDB). That Data Module can be reused and redistributed. This yields tremendous time savings to the authoring process, as Data Modules are simply "plugged in" to any publication or project documentation as needed.

With S1000D there is no need to recreate the same information over and over again for each individual publication. Related benefits of using S1000D include:

  • S1000D is based on internationally agreed, neutral standards.
  • Many different output forms can be generated from a single data source, ensuring consistency of data delivered.
  • Cost savings associated with reuse of information (vs. recreating new each time).
  • Facilitates complete configuration control.
  • Reduces maintenance costs for technical information and overall product lifecycle costs.
  • Allows subsets of information to be generated to meet specific user needs.
  • Facilitates transfer of information and electronic output between disparate IT systems.
  • Data Module concept can be applied to legacy data.
  • S1000D is non-proprietary, allowing neutral delivery and management of data.
  • Incorporates data storage in electronic form while supporting output of information as either paper or Interactive Electronic Technical Publications (IETP) or Interactive Electronic Technical Manuals (IETM) using XML and web technologies.
  • Provides a single standard to support communications and data exchange among all participants in a given project.
  • Standard data exchange format also readily supports future development projects.
  • A very active standards body stays current with evolving technologies while keeping an eye on backward compatibility, ensuring that S1000D stays up to date while protecting existing data investment.


Benefits to Standardization

Over the years, the technical publications community has recognized significant benefits from adopting publication standards, including:

  • Time Savings for Technicians & Other End Users of Technical Data – With standards applied, technical manuals appear consistent across similar types of equipment. Training requirements for technicians are reduced and information is accessed more rapidly, reducing down time for mission-critical or revenue-generating equipment.
  • Cost Savings in the Authoring Process - Technical publication authors produce information in a manner that is repeatable across multiple publications, even for different equipment. By applying standards, the amount of time and cost required to produce each publication is significantly reduced.
  • Interoperability Across Different Programs, Between Alliance Partners – As one example, by adopting the Air Transport Association (ATA) iSPEC 2200 standards for aviation technical publications, the commercial aviation community has been able to deliver and exchange technical information using a standardized platform that can be applied to all aviation manufacturers, and all operators of commercial aircraft. With the advent of other internationally recognized standards such as S1000D, coalition partners on military programs are able to facilitate improved exchange of information, regardless of the country of origin for the data, or even the type of equipment involved in the program (whether aircraft or land-based vehicles). Because of these clear benefits, S1000D is now rapidly being mandated by defense organizations around the world.

S1000D 101

Information produced in accordance with the specification is in a modular form, or Data Module (DM). Data Modules are small, reusable pieces of technical information, defined in S1000D as "the smallest self-contained information unit within a technical publication.” The important part of this definition is ‘self-contained.’ A Data Module must contain enough information to be standalone, in that it must have sense and meaning when viewed without any supporting data other than graphics.

All Data Modules that are applicable to the subject equipment are stored and managed in a database, referred to as the Common Source Data Base (CSDB). The benefit of a CSDB is to enable production output in either page-oriented or Interactive Electronic Technical Publications (IETP) that is consistent regardless of the IT platform used. Information is not duplicated in the CSDB, although individual Data Modules may be used many times in the output.

Every Data Module has a unique Data Module Code (DMC) that serves as an identifier and provides a mechanism for preventing duplication of data. Along with the issue number, the code ensures that every Data Module placed in the CSDB is unique. S1000D provides detailed schemas and explanations to guide the determination of the DMC. If used in conjunction with the product breakdown, when creating the project Standard Numbering System (SNS), the DMC also identifies how the subcomponents being documented relate to larger components that comprise a piece of equipment.


Data module types:

  • Crew/Operator
  • Checklists
  • Fault
  • Descriptive
  • Procedural
  • Front Matter
  • Wiring Data
  • Service Bulletin
  • Maintenance Schedule
  • Parts Data
  • Learning Module
  • Process Module
  • Common Information Repository
  • Container
  • Cross Reference (Applicability, Conditions, Products)

All information in both header and content sections of a data module is tagged in accordance with the relevant S1000D SGML Document Type Definition (DTD), or XML DTD or Schema as defined by the standard.

It is these tags and their attributes that provide the functionality that allows the information to be presented dynamically in the IETM, they provide the mechanism by which the logic and behaviour required for the IETM to display the information is determined. Using SGML or XML to tag information required solely for the printed page, or a linear IETM, would only require the information to be marked with tags that define that type of structure. i.e. chapters, paragraphs, warnings, cautions, tables, lists etc.

By using such tags and attributes as applicability, Boolean, variable and the numerous tags in the process data module S1000D allows for a much more dynamic and interactive presentation of information within the IETM.



The purpose of this web site is to provide an introduction and overview of the specification, with easy access to a collection of online information resources, in order to assist organizations in achieving a successful S1000D implementation.

This site is sponsored by CDG, a Boeing Company.

Copyright 2016 Continental DataGraphics