The concept of this specification was originated in the early 1980s as an aerospace standard within the Aerospace, Security and Defence Industries Association of Europe (ASD), formerly known as AECMA. At that time, most civil airline projects were being documented in accordance with specification ATA 100 with military projects following various national specifications.

With the development of Integrated Logistics Support (ILS) and information technology the AECMA Customer and Product Support Committee (CPSC) established a Documentation Working Group (DWG).

This group consisted of European industry representatives tasked to report on current documentation practices and to recommend a unified method of documentation for air vehicle projects.  The DWG recognized that the only internationally accepted specification in the aerospace field was ATA 100.

It was therefore decided to attempt to harmonize civil and military documentation using ATA 100 as a source document. The DWG invited the nations to provide military representatives who would participate in its activities and established a subsidiary, which was designated the Augmented Documentation Working Group (ADWG).

The ADWG was superseded by the Technical Publications Specification Maintenance Group (TPSMG), which in turn was superseded by the S1000D Steering Committee (SC) which now has the full responsibility of maintaining the specification. The SC includes members from military and industry from various countries.


To ease reading of the specification it has been split into multiple chapters covering aspects such as creation, management and publishing, the full lifecycle of technical publications creation.

Principal Concepts

The following sections deal with the principal concepts within the specification.  These concepts underpin a publications program using S1000D, and enable a move from a book paradigm to an information one.

Data module

A data module is defined as a stand alone information unit and contains descriptive, procedural or operational data for a platform, system or a component.

It is produced in such a form that it can be stored and retrieved from a Common Source Data Base by using the data module code as the identifier.

It is produced in SGML (up to S1000D Issue 3.0) or XML according to specific DTDs or Schemas, all of which are provided with the specification (Note: Click Here to download S1000D DTDs and Schemas).

Data Module Structure

Each data module comprises two parts, identification and status section and a contents section.

The Identification and Status section provides information for:

  • Managing the data module within the CSDB.
  • Managing data module applicability.
  • Managing the quality assurance process.
  • Controlling the retrieval processes.

The contents section provides the user with the actual information required to conduct the task or describe the system. S1000D has defined various information types, e.g.

  • Crew
  • Description
  • Procedural
  • Fault
  • Illustrated Parts Data
  • Schedules
  • Wiring
  • Process Module
  • Business Rules Exchange
Common Source Data Base (CSDB)

This is the “store” for the containment and management of data modules, S1000D however does not define its functionality or otherwise. It just states that there is a requirement to hold and manage the data modules produced within a program(s).