NSV Coding History

National Supplies Vocabulary (NSV) was the UK Government standard for item level-coding.  It was maintained by the NSV centre in Southampton, who were privatised in 1999.

There are over 500,000 NSV codes.  Each of these describe a functionally unique item.  In some cases this may be a generic item, such as an HB pencil with an erasor, or it could be a branded item.

The NSV system consists of two key elements: Codes and Standardised Descriptions.  The standardised descriptions are built up from the attributes of the product in a standard manner.

This structure makes the system very good for training Artificial Intelligence systems.  cloudBuy was seeking to achieve improvements in two areas:-

  • Classification and
  • Automatic extraction and recognition of attributes

The individual NSV codes are then linked to supplier part numbers and  descriptions of the items.