Shareable glossary use cases

This page lists the various use cases enabled by glossaries.

Website toolkit

Viral uptake of shareable glossaries depends upon the realization of two key use cases:

  • Hover-over term popups: As owner of a website with domain specific terms,

    • I want to add a glossary file into my website folder,
    • I want my website to automatically recognize this glossary file,
    • I want my website to provide “hover-over popup definitions” for my domain specific terms, which are sourced from my glossary file.
  • A build-glossary tool: As owner of a website with domain specific terms,

    • I want a build-glossary tool which finds all the technical terms in my website, as sourced from authoritative glossaries.
    • I want the tool to suggest technical terms I should define. (The terms not found in my source dictionary or glossaries.)

Discover term meaning

  • As a general document reader, I want to find definitions for the terms and acronyms in the document I am reading.
  • As a technical writer, I want to find the preferred spelling, capitalization and word choice for a term.
  • As an advanced document reader, I want to know of alternate definitions for a term.
  • As an advanced document reader, I want to understand the inheritance path back to upstream source definitions, where I may find more information.


  • As a translator, I want glossary terms to be translated into my target languages, so I can consistently translate a source term to the same target term.

Information mining

  • As a search engine or software algorithm building knowledge graphs, I want to use glossaries to help extract meaning from textual information sources.
  • As a researcher, I want to be able to find related information even if it uses different terms for the same concepts.


  • As a glossary owner, I want a governance framework to help resolve terminology management conflicts between:
    • My content authors.
    • Upstream glossary sources.
    • My downstream content consumers.
  • As a glossary owner, I want access to version history to allow predictable baseline updates and understand historical updates.
  • As a glossary owner, I want to track a term’s source glossary, so I can update my term if the source term definition changes.
  • As a glossary user, I want to be able to suggest new terms to an upstream glossary.

Note: A glossary might be targeting terms from a document, a website, a project, an organization, a domain, or a foundation.

Note: Sources for glossaries can be both:

  • More authoritative (such as from upstream standards), and
  • Less authoritative (such as from downstream community users).


  • As a glossary user, I want terms published under an open license, such as CC-By, so I can republish terms.


  • As a software developer, I want terms and relationships between glossaries in a machine-readable form so that I can integrate glossary functionality into software.
  • As a data modeler, I want to align the terms I use with others in my domain so that we can seamlessly integrate our data models.
Last modified 2022-05-15 (1fd8c89)