eXtensible Business Reporting Language (XBRL) is a version of XML, or eXtensible Markup Language, which is a standard of the electronic exchange of data between businesses on the internet. XBRL allows you to apply unique identifying tags to specific pieces financial data so that it can be easily understood and processed by computers.
XBRL also provides information about each piece of data, such as whether the data is monetary, is a percentage, or is a fraction. Labels in any language can be applied to pieces of data, as well as accounting references or other subsidiary information.
The XBRL taxonomy, which is the dictionary used by XBRL that defines the specific tags for unique pieces of data, consists of the core part – one or more schemas – and linkbase file.
The schema, also known as the main file, contains taxonomy elements, links between the elements, paths to other files with elements and links, and footnotes, which clarify irregularly structured associations that are included between facts in the schema file.
The linkbase files contains links between elements and their labels, and can include a presentation linkbase, a calculation linkbase, a definition linkbase, a reference linkbase, and a label linkbase. Not all taxonomies contain all linkbase files.
Different taxonomies will be required for different financial reporting purposes.
For more information about XBRL, refer to the XBRL International Web site.