What is an OTL [OTL and RDL explained]
Certainly, you’re probably wondering what exactly OTL stands for. If you Google it, you’d be met with puzzling results like ‘Out-To-Lunch’ or ‘One-True-Love,’ but that’s not what OTL means. The term OTL, which stands for Object Type Library or Objecttypenbibliotheek in Dutch, was coined by the Dutch Road Authorities. However, the concept behind it is far from new; it just goes by a different name.
Origin of the OTL
This concept was copied from the process industry, previously known as a Reference Data Library or RDL for short. An RDL contains information about ‘types of objects,’ like families of physical assets and their characteristics, such as ‘dimensions’ and ‘color’, attributes like ‘installation dates’ and ‘warranty period’, and relations with other concepts like ‘supplier’ or ‘location’. By assigning these concepts a standardized meaning, a common language for sharing information within a specific ecosystem emerges.
For instance, asset owners, like infrastructure and grid operators or plant and factory operators, must maintain their assets after hand-over by a contractor who built them. To facilitate this, maintenance software and its underlying databases must be equipped with information about these assets as-built. As such, the asset owners need to require the contractor to hand over the asset’s information for its own use.
Using an OTL
To streamline this handover process and enable software to interpret the information consistently, Information Delivery Specifications (IDS) or Data Exchange Specifications (DEXs) are incorporated into agreements with contractors. The IDS references the RDL, informing the contractor that they must provide certain information in a specific format for each asset they’ve built. In short, an OTL is the same as an RDL, used as a common language to facilitate the smooth exchange of information within the supply chain.
But it’s important to note that there are many different sorts of Reference Data Libraries. That has to do with the purpose of an RDL and the ambition of the users to which extent they want their information exchange to be automated.
Level of Understanding
To simplify matters, when people need to have a common understanding of their natural language, they create a vocabulary described in a dictionary. However, when it comes to communication of software, logical definitions that every computer can process are required. The latter is called a formal language and has a far greater impact on software. If a formal language is adopted, software using the RDL must have the ability to reason and infer information independently, such as determining permissible values and quantities.
Purpose of its Meaning
Apart from the level of automation, an RDL is not always used for the same sort of data or the same processes within a supply chain. Often, the terms are also used to describe just the shape in which data is handed over for automated processing between applications within an organization or team, as seen in certain CAD software and Geographical Information Systems (GIS). It’s important to keep in mind that there is no universal OTL. Any OTL will always be tailored to its intended purpose.
What is FAIR data?
What does FAIR stand for? FAIR is an acronym for Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable. These topics are relevant to those wishing to reuse their data and have machines automatically find and process their data to help people do so. These so-called ‘FAIR Guiding Principles’ (for scientific data management and stewardship) were published in Scientific […]Read
What is an OTL [OTL and RDL explained]
Certainly, you’re probably wondering what exactly OTL stands for. If you Google it, you’d be met with puzzling results like ‘Out-To-Lunch’ or ‘One-True-Love,’ but that’s not what OTL means. The term OTL, which stands for Object Type Library or Objecttypenbibliotheek in Dutch, was coined by the Dutch Road Authorities. However, the concept behind it is […]Read
Unleashing the power of Interoperability
The modern IT landscape of organizations depends on multiple software collaborating as a process. Each software works differently and stores data in its own formats, impeding smooth information exchange both internally and externally. This is why the concept of interoperability is receiving increasing attention. But what exactly is interoperability and how can it future proof […]Read