I thought it would be useful to bring this issue to the attention of the wider community. Poorly maintained IATI infrastructure is presenting a significant challenge to the use of IATI data at country level (currently here in Bangladesh).
A recurrent issue has come up with using the IATI Datastore. It is not updating data automatically – the last data available for the Netherlands is from early July (though their data is updated monthly). We previously faced the same problem with World Bank data. This means that a) new activities are not found and b) existing activities are not updated. This clearly presents a fundamental obstacle to using IATI data at country level.
After previously reporting this problem in early July, the data finally became available after two weeks (which is too slow, but OK if it doesn’t happen again), thanks to a bugfix by @andylolz. I reported yesterday that this issue has now appeared again for Netherlands data. My bug report was essentially disregarded and the issue closed, on the basis that the problem may lie with the Registry (which is not a reason for closing the issue: the Datastore is still not functioning correctly, as it is not returning the requested data).
I am extremely frustrated that such a basic, core service to IATI’s mission is so unreliable and that feedback on basic problems with using IATI data is not actioned speedily by the Secretariat, especially given the apparent focus now on data use.
Having been involved in IATI for about 7 years, it is really embarrassing to have to keep explaining to people here in Bangladesh that their data is fine, the government’s software is fine, but it is IATI infrastructure that is preventing their data from being automatically imported and updated. This is undermining confidence in the use of IATI at country level.
How do we fix this problem?
- Does the Secretariat need additional resources or just to prioritise existing resources better?
- Does the Secretariat even think people should be trying to use the Datastore or does it recommend an alternate option for accessing the data?
- Can the Secretariat have some kind of targets for uptime and resolution of major issues?