Railroad Industry Forum (RIF) Electronic Parts Catalog Exchange Standard (EPCES)

Author: Zarella  James


Ms. James is a Senior Consulting Engineer at Highland Consulting. She has designed and developed Technical Documentation Management Systems for customers in various industries including the Telecommunications Industry, the Oil and Gas Industry, Publishing Industry, Air Transport Industry and the US Postal Service. Zarella's has 6 years of SGML experience including document analysis, DTD development, conversion strategies, on-line document design and implementation, and document database development.

Author: Betty  Harvey




Betty Harvey is President and principle owner of Electronic Commerce Connection, Inc. Prior experience includes acting a Management Analyst for the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service, a Scientific and Engineering User Support Specialist at David Taylor Model Basin, NSWC (formerly David Taylor Naval Ship Research & Development Center) where she provided support for a multitude of computers including Cray XMP. While David Taylor Ms. Harvey participated in the development of U.S. DoD CALS standards, including IETMs, SGML and Internet protocols. In 1994, Ms. Harvey was awarded “Employee of the Year, Engineer/Scientist”.

Ms. Harvey reactivated and currently coordinates the Washington, D.C. Area SGML Users Group ( and acts as Secretary for the ISO/TC184/SC4/WG3/T14 ( This ISO Technical Committee is responsible for the integration of the SGML and STEP standards.

Author: Doug  Welling


Mr. Welling is Managing Director of SGML Nexus, software products division of ISOGEN Corp.

He has managed the design, development, and integration of On-Line Technical Documentation systems for customers in the semiconductor industry, air transport industry, heavy equipment industry, and computer industry.

Experience includes requirements analysis, system design, end-user and technical support personnel training, multi-vendor software integration projects, and software sales and distribution.

KEYWORDS:  SGML   HyTime   CGM   TIFF   ATA 2100   EDI 


The Railroad Industry Forum (RIF) is a team of the National Association of Purchasing Managers who were tasked to develop a standard for the exchange of electronic parts catalog data within the North American railroad industry. The RIF members are comprised of major railroads and railroad manufacturers. Mary McCarthy and Betty Harvey, Electronic Commerce Connection, Inc. developed the EPCES DTD.

EPCES - Electronic Parts Catalog Exchange Standard, is a standard that was developed by the RIF for interchange and presentation of illustrated parts catalogs. The presentation of EPCES information has been designed to facilitate point and click capability.

LinkOne is an electronic parts catalog and service manual delivery system. It has been developed to enable electronic viewing of parts and service information for manufactured equipment and processes. LinkOne provides point and click functionality between graphics and textual information.

ISOGEN International Corp. has developed an EPCES filter for LinkOne to support importing and/or exporting parts catalog information from the manufacturers or railroads in SGML compliant to the EPCES standard.

EPCES History

To support the proliferation of EPC's, the Rail Industry Forum (RIF) Subcommittee on Information Standards (Task Team) contracted with Applied Image Technology (AIT) to develop the Electronic Parts Catalog Exchange Standard (EPCES).

Members of the RIF Task Team consisted of members from major railroad companies and suppliers:

The EPCES standard was developed to support the exchange of text, graphics, parts information and allow navigation hyperlinks necessary for an electronic parts catalog (EPC) application. In addition to deploying EPC's, some recipients wanted the capability of inputting EPC parts information directly into Railroad purchasing, inventory and accounting applications. The integration of SGML and EDI is a natural migration path.

The prime contractor was AIT. AIT has an electronic parts catalog product. AIT, subcontracted with SoftQuad Inc, for the document analysis and DTD development portion of the project. SoftQuad, Inc. subcontracted with Mary McCarthy (McCarthy, Inc.) and Betty Harvey, (Electronic Commerce Connection, Inc.) to perform the document analysis, DTD development and SGML consulting to the RIF. Gerry Bourguignon (fomerly of SoftQuad) participated in the document analysis portion of the EPCES standard.