KB+ Concepts and Terminology

The language of “subscribed resources” is full of jargon and ambiguity. This can often cause confusion or misunderstandings when words are used in slightly different ways, or for slightly different purposes.

During the development of KB+ we have had to be careful to assign specific meanings to terms in order to talk unambiguously about concepts. Each time we wanted to link a term to a KB+ concept we were faced with the choice of coining new terminology or using an existing term. Unfortunately either option can lead to confusion for an external audience!

This document attempts to define terms and the concepts to which they refer in the KB+ context.

KBPlus data model

This diagram represents the core set of elements from the KBPlus data model. Most of the terms in this diagram are defined below.

Title Instance

Title Instance represents a resource (e.g. journal or a database) which is part of the KB+ data. A title instance can have one or more identifiers associated with it (e.g. ISSN, DOI).


TIPP is a very specific term to the KB+. It stands for ‘Title Instance Package Platform’. It essentially represents a resource (e.g. a journal) plus coverage information (start and end date/volume/issue). A TIPP always refers to a block of continuous coverage for a resource.

TIPP is made available through a host type Platform, and administered through an administrative type Platform.

The primary host Platform is integral to the TIPP. Which is to say that if the same journal title, with the same coverage is delivered through two platforms these are different TIPPs.

Each TIPP is linked to a Title Instance, which represents the resource (e.g. journal) to which the TIPP refers. A Package consists of one or more TIPPs.


Coverage defines which part(s) of a serial publication is available as part of a package. Typically this is given in terms of a start date and an end date, although other indicators such as the earliest and latest volumes and issues available may also be used.

In the KBPlus application the coverage information makes up part of a TIPP.


An interface that administers or delivers the content, or provides a route to the content, to the user.

In the KBPlus application the definition of a platform is that it relates to a specific ‘domain’. Each new domain represents a new KBPlus platform.

platform is related to a TIPP, and each TIPP must have at least a ‘host’ platform and associated URL. A TIPP can have one or more host or administrative platforms.

For convenience, each Package in the KBPlus also has a ‘nominal’ Platform.


A package is the set of resources to which a subscription pertains. This typically will be a set of journal titles, with coverage information.

In the KBPlus data model a Package brings together a set of TIPPs.

While each TIPP is directly linked to one or more Plaforms, each Package is also linked to a single ‘nominal’ platform for convenience.

Subscription can be related to one or more Packages via a Subscription Package.

Content provider

An organisation, such as a publisher, aggregator or subscriptions agent, who provides access to resources on a subscription basis.

In the KBPlus application Content Provider is a role taken by an Organisation in relation to a Package.

Subscription Package

The Subscription Package is simply a mechanism to allow a single Subscription to cover multiple Packages. It is worth noting that because agreement term and licence is attached to the Subscription in the KB+, a subscription cannot relate to multiple packages with different licences.


A subscription is an agreement or potential agreement between two actors, a ‘subscriber’ and a ‘provider’ (typically an HEI and a publisher) to gain access to a set of resources, for a period of time, under specific conditions (set out in a license and/or elsewhere), and usually at a specific cost.

In the KBplus data model the Subscription entity is central, but doesn’t have much data directly associated with it. Instead the Subscription links to other data entities which contain more detailed information

Subscription is governed by a set of terms and conditions expressed in a licence.

Subscription is linked to a set of Issue Entitlements which express the exact content available to a subscriber through the subscription.

Agreement term

This is the period of time that a subscription agreement is active. Typically agreement terms are one year, but agreements that last several years are also common. An agreement term may have a period of notice required in order to end the agreement.

In the KBPlus application the agreement term is represented by the Subscription start and end dates. Any notice period is represented by the subscription notice period.


An organisation, typically an HEI, which will access a set of resources via an agreement with a provider.

In the KBPlus application ‘subscriber’ is a role taken by an Organisation in relation to a Subscription.


An organisation, through which a subscription is taken, and to which a payment is made.

In the KBPlus application ‘vendor’ is a role taken by an Organisation in relation to a Subscription.


consortium is an organisation that negotiates subscriptions on behalf of two or more subscribers.

In the KBPlus application any Organisation can be a consortium, or belong to a consortium. For KBPlus purposes ‘NESLi2’ is treated as a consortium.

Issue Entitlement

An Issue Entitlement represents an institutions specific coverage for a TIPP. While a TIPP defines coverage, it does so for the generic (or vanilla) package. Under the terms of the licence an institution may not have access to all TIPPs within a package, and it is the Issue Entitlement that indicates an institutions actual access to resources under the package.

The Issue Entitlement does not repeat information from the TIPP that cannot change at a local level, such as the platform.

Each Issue Entitlement is linked to a TIPP which means that it is not possible to include in a subscription resources that are not in the original package.


In the KBPlus application, a licence is the complete set of terms and conditions applying to a subscription. It is not limited to a single licence document, and may encompass terms or clarifications expressed elsewhere, such as in an email from the licensor.

licence contains a set of licence key values, and can be linked to one or more documents.

licence does not have an agreement term in the KBPlus application. While a licence document may include information about the agreement term, specifically the notice period, this information is recorded in the subscription.

Licence Key Values

Licence Key Values record simple answers to common questions related to licence terms and conditions. They represent only an interpretation of the licence, and are not a replacement for a detailed reading of the licence documentation.


licensor is an organisation who offers a licence in relation to a subscription.

In the KBPlus application ‘licensor’ is a role taken by an Organisation in relation to a Licence.


licensee is an organisation who takes a licence in relation to a subscription.

In the KBPlus application ‘licensee’ is a role taken by an Organisation in relation to a Licence.


In the KBPlus a document is any file stored in the KBPlus. Documents may be files of any format, including Word, Excel, PDF, XML or emails.

2 thoughts on “KB+ Concepts and Terminology

  1. Pingback: Release 2 of KB+ Meeting | Knowledge Base+

  2. Pingback: KBPlus Day: a festival of #kbplus | Laura's Dark Archive

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s