Select a publishing tool¶
There are currently three different mechanisms recommended by the IATI Secretariat to convert data into IATI- XML data files. Aidstream and the CSV Converter are recommended because they are both currently actively maintained with the involvement of the IATI Technical Support Team.
Aidstream (http://www.aidstream.org) is an online data entry and management tool which you use by manually entering all of the relevant activity information through the use of drop-down menus and text boxes. Aidstream converts the data entered into XML and outputs both organisation and activity datafiles for publishing . The data stored in Aidstream can be added to or amended at any point. Aidstream is usually the tool of choice if you only have a small number of activities (approx < 15 - 20) to publish.
There is a whole series of instructional videos on using Aidstream. These can be found at Aidstream On Youtube
The CSV Converter tool (http://csv2iati.iatistandard.org/) enables relevant activity information to be pulled from across the organisation into a single CSV file. Data for each activity is stored in a single row in the CSV file with column headings mapping to IATI fields .
Once the CSV file is completed, it is uploaded to the conversion tool and a mapping model is created. Column titles from the CSV file are mapped to IATI fields so that information is picked up from the correct place. Default values for some fields can also be set. Once the mapping exercise is completed, you simply click to convert the data and the tool creates an Activity file (no organisation file) for publishing..
Specific guidance on the use of the CSV Converter can be found at http://csv2iati.iatistandard.org/docs/user_guide.html. Examples of an input CSV file are also available as part of the online guidance.
It is also recommended that Publishers creating their Activity files via the CSV Converter should also use Aidstream in order to create their organisation files
Bespoke (In House Applications)¶
Organisations with internal technical expertise and capacity may decide to generate their own mechanisms for converting their data into IATI data. This can be done by developing internal systems and processes so that data is pulled together from internal management and finance systems to create XML data. This requires technical knowledge of both XML and the organisation’s internal systems in order to create a programme to achieve this. This can be done with either internal technical expertise or by bringing in consultants to develop a bespoke package.
This is normally an option often chosen by large organisations reporting a large number of activities, as in the long-run this proves to be a more cost effective means of reporting to IATI.
There are other IATI publishing tools available that have been developed by Third Parties. They are:
Akvo Really Simple Reporting (RSR) is an online platform for reporting, monitoring, and publicly communicating international development programs. Features include management, tracking, and updating of projects from the desk or remotely, and RSR enables users to automatically push or pull data to or from the IATI registry.
IATI Studio Publisher¶
Due for release in the 3rd quarter of 2016, IATI Studio Publisher allows for validated IATI publication, both on activity level and organisation level. Drafted data will be available before the user chooses to export the data to a valid XML file and the service is integrated with the IATI Studio Chart Builder and Micro-site Builder, more details of which can be found here.
The SQL-to-IATI tool generates IATI XML data from activity data stored in a SQL database. DFID use this to publish their full set of 13000 activities each month, so it supports enterprise-grade IATI.
The core of the database is the IATISchema schema which contains a set of tables that mirror the IATI 2.01 standard XML schema in a relational database. The data held in these tables can be output as valid IATI XML files directly from a SQL function.
A stored procedure populates the IATISchema tables through a series of transformations from source data (for example a corporate ERP). Although the stored procedure is written to deal with DFID’s specific source data, it would be a good starting point. During transformation the PublicationControl schema is used to control the data to be published to IATI, for example it contains a table to allow the exclusion of activities from publication to the IATI registry. The CodeList schema holds all of the IATI standing data (i.e. lists of valid countries, currencies and Aid Type categories), taken from the IATI codelists.
DFID are willing to share the codebase with organisations as they seek to publish more data to the IATI standard, and the code is freely available on GitHub. They would like to partner with others interested in developing this further as an open source tool for the IATI community. Contact DFID’s Technical Transparency Team: firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested.
Comparison of Tools¶
The table below provides a summary of the three main tool options that can be used to convert data for IATI purposes:
on small number of activities
capacity to develop own conversion systems but too many activities to use web entry platforms
to report who want to invest in own systems
|Number of activities for publication: (rough guide)||Up to 20||Up to 200||Over 200|
|Internal technical capacity required:||No||Yes||Yes|
|Data entry type:||Manual||Manual CSV (spreadsheet) template||Automatic / built-in feed from internal systems|
|Input type:||Drop down menus and text boxes||Manual mapping to spreadsheet columns or fixed values||Pulled from internal systems automatically|
|Availability of conversion type:||Online and free||Online and free||Needs internal capacity / consultants to develop bespoke system|
|Knowledge of XML required:||No||No||Yes|
|XML formats required:||No (selected automatically through drop down menus)||Yes (data has to be stored in the correct format in the spreadsheet)||No (converts this from internal systems)|
|Automatic publication: to IATI Registry?||Yes||No (possibly in the future)||Yes (if using Registry API)|
|Can files be segmented:||Yes||No (possibly in the future)||Yes|
|Organisation file ability:||Yes||Not yet||Yes|
|Preparation required:||Activity data available||Storage of data in correct format in spreadsheet||System development to ensure activity relevant data is pulled in|
|Resources required (set-up):||Minimal – data entry||Medium – set up and feeding into spreadsheet and then mapping||High – internal technical capacity or consultants required to develop system|
|Resources required (ongoing management):||Minimal – ongoing data entry||Minimal – ongoing feed into spreadsheet||Minimal – system able to run automatically|
|User guidance / support available:||Yes||Yes||No|
Last updated on 2016-10-25