Extra reporting Org vocabularies under sector

(Patricia Dekker) #1

Currently in IATI there is only room for 2 reporting organisation vocabularies under sectors (98/99). For our reporting we would actually need more.
Would it be possible to extend them to 3 or 4 or more?

(Wendy Rogers) #2

Hi Patricia thanks for getting in touch and most things are possible. We would also be very interested in hearing a bit more about the different sector vocabularies you have and the information they hold if you are able to share? Thanks

(Patricia Dekker) #3

Hi Wendy,

Vocabulary 99 is now used for Oxfam AIMS; the % contribution of the activity to each of the five rights Oxfam’s strategic plan is based upon;

For vocabulary 98 we have three candidates…… difficult to choose from.

We would love to be able to register all three:

  • the % attribution of the budget to each chosen outcome (registered under result). Sector adding up to 100% seems to be the most logic element.
  • the % nature of the activity attributed to the intervention strategy: Poverty alleviation at beneficiary level, poverty alleviation at policy (influencing and campaigning) level, poverty alleviation at organizational (cap build) level and Knowledge and information management. Sector adding up to 100% seems to be the most logic element.
  • the % attribution to each of Oxfam’s six external change goals, from Oxfam’s strategic plan

By allowing us to declare 98, 97 and 96 vocabularies, we would be able to generate quick visuals on these key figures for management purposes. Useful for our operations also due to the daily refresh of our xml.
But of course we want to respect the standard and seek your understanding and permission first :wink:


(Wendy Rogers) #4

Thanks for the update Leo and probably the easiest way to add the additional information into your data would be by using an extension (see http://iatistandard.org/201/namespaces-extensions/). Extensions can be used by any publisher to include additional data that is not included as a default element in the IATI Standard .

In addition do you want to include this information just for the purposes of creating the visuals for internal management purposes or is there also any external audience that the information might be of interest to?

(Alberto Amaro) #5

Please, let me take advantage of this answer to come back to an old issue related with “Additional Information”

In my opinion, the solution of adding Namespaces to separate internal information from the standard IATI date probably solves the fact of having all the data in the same XML but, on the other hand, it adds a new problem to the quality of information.

First, because, when this namespace data is included, the IATI XML file is not correct according to the IATI Schema and the validation fails. Besides other effects, for example, I guess this error could affect the automatic quality evaluation carried on by the IATI Dashboard.

But there is another problem due to the fact that until now the IATI Standard hasn’t defined its own Namespace. It’s called: “The Chameleon Namespace Design” and you can find info in Google because it has been reported by some XML gurus from 2003.

To summarize it: The IATI standard has been defined without a Namespace. And then there are problems when you try to mix an XML data with other elements or attributes from other Namespace.

Conceptually, an XML Schema is a specific dictionary definition grouped with a Namespace that helps to isolate the domain of every vocabulary.
And, in the current definition, without a Namespace, the IATI Standard is reserving and blocking their element’s name. Stated in other way: “transation”, “location”, are reserved words by IATI, but they would be “iati:transaction”, iati:location", for example, to facilitate the addition and cohabitation in the same file of other elements: “myOrg:transaction” or “myOrg:location”

In my opinion, it could be solved easily defining the IATI Namespace and using it to identify uniquely all the IATI Standard data. But I’m opened and interested in other points of view.

I commented this several years ago (without success, I must confess). Maybe in the next releases it could be considered.


(leo stolk) #6

Hi Wendy and Alberto

Basically the Organisation vocabularies that were mentioned above will be used for internal communication and management purposes, intranet pages/visuals and dashboards. But also in visualizations on Oxfam websites for external communication purposes. These are dimensions in use by a sizable and growing network of the NGO’s in this case Oxfam, to monitor and show progress on implementation of the Oxfam Strategic Plan.

Guess the same challenge exist for other smaller and bigger networks of NGO’s. Networks tend to face the same struggle, how to generate data from different back offices that allow monitoring and management at network level.
Excel based ‘manual’ exercises can well be replaced by IATI standard element entries on network vocabulary own sectors.

Extending the sector vocabulary range for organizations or network own vocabulary (90-99) will favor and foster the uptake and use of IATI data. ‘What’s in it for you’ is an important factor in decision making to invest in IATI compliance or not.

Have organizations actually faced namespace-extensions problems related to the risks pointed out by Alberto?
If so I would strongly prefer to use sector-element with more vocabularies…

Do you see the point?


(Wendy Rogers) #8

Many thanks both Leo and Alberto for your comments.

Alberto - I am most interested in the points you raise about the use of Namespaces. As you rightly point out they are not part of the formal schema (but are part of the Standard) as the intention is that it is left to the publisher to decide how to structure this so that they can additionally publish any data that they like that is not currently defined by any existing element. In addtion, the IATI validator (http://validator.iatistandard.org/) should ignore any namespaces that it finds so files should not fail validation if namespaces are used. We do have a handful of publishers who do already include their own data in this way and I am not aware of any validation issues. However, please do forward any details to the IATI Help Desk so that we can investigate if this is not the case?

Leo - In view of the above we would still recommend the use of namespaces for including the additional data that your internal application and processes will require. Whilst we could extend the sector vocabulary range for ‘own’ vocabularies my concern would be just how many is enough? It is always a fine line in managing the Standard in making it definitive as well as flexible enough to serve the needs of all publishers. However, if you do decide that this would be a formal recommendation you would want to make then please do feel free to add the request to the forum for any recommended modifications or enhancements for the IATI Standard - http://support.iatistandard.org/forums/20020808-Modifications-Additions-Improvements. We actively encourage all members of the community to add their recommendations for improving the Standard at any time. Such request will then be subsequently reviewed and considered for the next version of the Standard as part of the next iteration of the Standard Upgrade process

(Alberto Amaro) #9

First at all, please excuse me because I think that my comment was more related with the technical consequences that I’m foreseeing than with the first question of Patricia.

In any case, I think that to keep the quality of information the best solution should be grouping all IATI elements in its own and unique Namespace and then, any publisher interested in adding new information could define and work with its personal Namespace. Avoiding the current IATI Schema possibility of adding any external value or element to an XML file. Let us hope that I am wrong, but it could bring quality lacks in the future.

Following this line, it would be an added value if these specific Schemas were accepted, registered and published in IATI (obviously only when the publishers want to add these data to their public IATI XML files)
So, over the years, the International Cooperation would have a set of Schemas (really an XML Schema is a Vocabulary well defined to help the knowledge of data consumers) to cover and understand additional information than has been published together with IATI data.

But, as I said before, this is my technical point of view and concern: Mixing external data in the XML files without any control or reference can affect the quality?
Maybe in the next TAG it could be discussed.


(Wendy Rogers) #10

Thank you for the additional information and clarifications Alberto. Ideally the development of the IATI Standard should be driven by the needs of the IATI community so the TAG could certainly provide a suitable forum for discussion of this topic? In addition, it is always welcome to hear the views of any other community members about the issues raised here or if they have related comments or experiences to share?