The problem of sharing data has many facets. The need to share data across multiple enterprises, different hardware platforms, different data storage paradigms and systems, and a variety of network architectures is growing. The emerging Standard for The Exchange of Product Model Data (STEP), being developed in the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), addresses this need by providing information models, called application protocols, which clearly and unambiguously describe data. The validity of these information models is essential for success in sharing data in a highly automated engineering environment. This paper describes the Data Probe: a tool for examining, editing, and managing EXPRESS-based data. The Data Probe tool supports the validation of STEP application protocols. The paper includes a description of the software architecture, the initial implementation, and plans for future enhancements. The software is designed as independent components which can be incorporated into other STEP-related systems or software requiring general purpose editing tools for structured information. The initial version of the Data Probe tool is based on two implementation mechanisms defined within STEP: the conceptual modeling language EXPRESS and the STEP exchange file format. Future work will focus on integrating a database system into the software. The software architecture and the use of object-oriented techniques enables code reusability and system extensibility and has been instrumental for a phased implementation. The software is under development at the National Institute o
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