Rail Industry Guidelines for EDI: Introduction and Overview
Changes to the Rail Industry Guidelines can originate from changes in the ASC X12 Standards, and also from an agreement among the members of the Committee on Information Standards that additions, deletions, or changes are necessary. Publication takes place on two levels. The ASC X12 documentation is re-published every 36 or 48 months through formal ANSI publication routines. Each new publication is distinguished by a unique version number. The X12 Committee itself periodically updates the documentation between successive ANSI publications. Each update is a new release. The combination of version and release pinpoints a specific status of the standards which should be unambiguous to both sender and receiver. The Committee on Information Standards will time their changes to the guidelines to coincide with the announcement of a new version/release by the X12 Committee.
Each year, ASC X12 updates the EDI standard creating a new version or release of the standard. In turn, the Committee on Information Standards creates a new Rail Industry Guideline that recognizes the new X12 version/release. The rail industry adheres to an upgrade strategy that supports the two most current version/releases. As a new version/release is adopted, the second prior version/release is dropped. The following clarifies the version/release scheme:
In practice, this implies that each receiver must be prepared to accept transmissions in either of the two active version/releases, and each sender must be capable of sending in one of the two currently active version/releases.