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Request for Requirements for XBRL Specification 2.0

[Period for requirements closes February 10, 2001.]

The Specification Working Group of is soliciting input from all interested parties for the enhancement of the technical requirements for XBRL (eXtensible Business Reporting Language).

The first version of the XBRL Specification was published in July, 2000 and can be found at ( It is the intention of to update the specification periodically to take advantage of technology advances and facilitate market implementation. Market experiences with adoption and implementation of XBRL, along with new developments in other technologies, are expected to inform changes to the specification. If you want to participate in this important opportunity to influence the future direction of the technical design of XBRL, please help us now!

We hope to receive proposals covering many areas of the specification. As examples of the types of comments that might be proposed:

  • Suggestions of better leverage, conformance or alignment with another specifications within the financial industry, or in the wider community of W3C and international standards. As an example, XML Linking and XML Schema are moving towards Recommendation status with the W3C. Your proposal may indicate that XBRL should take advantage of specific parts of those emerging technologies.

  • A deeper exploration of the domain of financial, accounting and business reporting. As an example, you may propose that XBRL documents explicitly state whether it is safe to do calculations (totaling, ratios, etc.) on the assumption that the data in the document is complete, or that it is not safe to make that assumption. You may suggest new use cases and scenarios in which XBRL can contribute, and which should influence XBRL. You may suggest that XBRL taxonomies should contain information on the "natural balance" of a financial concept if that makes sense.

Please be as clear and concise as possible. Describe the need for the change you propose and the benefits that will accrue from it. Also, include examples of any change in syntax either to XBRL instance or taxonomy documents that are part of the proposal.

Send all proposals as messages to the XBRL public forum, at The message header/subject should begin "[xbrl-public][SPEC] Response to requirements gathering:". Long proposals may be sent at attachments, e.g., Microsoft Word or Adobe Acrobat files. All proposals should be submitted prior to February 10, 2001. This request is for new technical requirements, only. Proposals to change the scope of XBRL in terms of its business or political goals are not appropriate though they may be addressed to the Strategy Working Group in a separate message. Proposals that impact the individual taxonomies under development should be directed to the Domain Working Group.

XBRL has succeeded to date through the collaboration of many diverse participants. We ask your assistance in continuing this process by contributing to this open requirements gathering effort. Thank you in advance for your personal contribution to the advancement of this effort and for the enhancement of the collaborative platform from which we all will benefit.

Prepared by Robin Cover for The XML Cover Pages archive. See: "Extensible Business Reporting Language (XBRL)."

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