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SEC XBRL Filing Logical Model and Primer

What started, I guess, back in 2007 when we started to create the US GAAP Taxonomy Architecture has finally arrived where I have been trying to get it since that time. Intermediate steps in the process were XBRLS which Rene van Egmond and I created and the Business Reporting Logical Model which was created by the XBRL International Taxonomy Architecture Working Group.

SEC XBRL Filing Logical Model

I have condensed the US GAAP Taxonomy and SEC XBRL filings into what I believe is a simple, easy to understand and easy to implement logical model. I believe that this logical model, once implemented within software applications, will shield business users from the significantly more technical XBRL syntax. It will also contribute to more consistency in SEC XBRL filings.

Here are things which help to explain this logical model.

  • SEC XBRL Filing Primer (Draft). This PDF file provides an overview of the model as well as details. In addition, a number of appendices at the end help to understand certain more detailed aspects of XBRL, should one be interested.
  • Logical Model Mind Map. This PDF file provides a visual representation of the components and relations between components which make up the logical model.
  • Reorganization of Select 2011 US GAAP Taxonomy Networks. This link is to a viewer which lets you look at a reorganized version of select networks of the US GAAP taxonomy to help you see what the taxonomy would look like if it were remolded to adhere to this logical model. The two primary things done by this reorganization are: (a) model all taxonomy components as explicit [Table]s and (b) consistently model the [Line Items] of each [Table] to conform to a specific set of information models articulated by the logical model. For more information about this reorganized version see here and here.
  • Reference Implementation. This link takes you to a reference implementation of an SEC XBRL filing instance and supporting taxonomy which complies with this logical model.
  • Comparison test. This link takes you to three XBRL instances which allow for testing comparability between the filings.  This is the reference implementation (above) plus two additional copies. Many of the components are comparable, others are not. This shows what contributes to comparability and what takes away from comparability.
  • Relations and Table Info Sets. These two XML files instantiate the relations and tables of the reference implementation above into info sets which use the terminology of the logical model. These info sets help one better understand the components of the logical model. (Note that these are best viewed using Microsoft Internet Explorer.  If you don't see the XML, view the source within you browser.)
  • Set of US GAAP Taxonomy Tables. This RSS feed provides a list of the [Table]s in the reorganized US GAAP taxonomy networks.  This helps one see that the elephant can be broken down into bite size chunks. In is my belief that many of these tables need to be further reduced.
  • Information Models (A.K.A. Meta patterns, DRAFT). This explains the notion of an information model. (Note that I used to call these meta patterns. This needs to be updated, but it will work in the interim to help you understand what an information model is.

Additional useful examples, business use cases, and other samples can be found here.

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