This post has been written by Wendy Thomas, IATI Technical Lead based at Development Initiatives.
Welcome to the IATI Technical Team’s quarterly update. Every quarter, we update our community on the progress made on IATI tech and share our plans for the next quarter. The Technical Team’s quarterly plans are reviewed by IATI’s Governing Board technical focal points. You can read the last quarter's update and the IATI 2020 workplan.
Datastore and Validator
The Technical Team worked closely with Data4Development and Zimmerman to progress remaining work on the Validator and Datastore in Q1. The key focus in this quarter was on integrating the two tools. For the Validator, additional work included bug fixes and implementing improvements identified during the testing period. For the Datastore, additional work included streamlining the parsing process, adding the analytics tool, ensuring that default column outputs match the order of the IATI Standard and that equivalent data is available from standard API and Solr functions.
Website - iatistandard.org
The Technical Team made significant improvements to the IATI website this quarter. We implemented:
- A new navigation menu
- An updated homepage which now sign-posts latest news, social media and data use tools
- An updated the IATI tools section with information on the new Datastore and Validator
- A separate Governance section for easier navigation of that section’s content
We also did considerable work on preparing to move the content of the IATI reference site onto iatisandard.org. As part of this process, we have collaborated well with the IATI community to resolve issues on managing and version-controlling the documentation around the Standard.
The Technical Team produced guidance on how to publish IATI data on COVID-19, encouraging organisations involved in the international effort to address the pandemic to publish data on their spending and activities. We worked with UN OCHA Financial Tracking Service to ensure alignment with their reporting guidelines and the Global Humanitarian Response Plans, as well as with the World Health Organisation and the Humanitarian Data Exchange, to make sure we are aligned. The team encouraged feedback from the Community on the guidance through Webinars in April and a consultation on IATI Discuss.
Publisher guidance and support
In addition to the work on the COVID-19 guidance, the Technical Team’s Business and Data Analysts produced and consulted with the Community on three additional guidance documents on reporting data on results and conditions, incorporating Community feedback received.
In February the Tech Team led sessions at a workshop hosted by the Danish Government’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs for CSOs in February, providing training to enable them to publish data to IATI.
Our work for Quarter 2
The main priorities for the Technical Team in Quarter 2 include the following:
Datastore and Validator
At the start of Q2 we have been testing the integration between the two tools. As we move towards a launch of the products, we will be working on these issues:
- Finalise integration with the IATI Validator
- Test redirect of queries from the old Datastore to the new Datastore
- Adding bulk and URL uploads for multiple files to the Validator, as well as an email notification with validation results
- Fixing remaining bugs raised during the testing phase
- Moving the Validator to IATI’s github repository
As mentioned in the March IATI Newsletter, IATI’s Governing Board is convening a Technical Stocktake to review IATI’s technical systems, tools and processes. The Stocktake will recap progress made since the 2018 Technical Audit and help us develop a roadmap for IATI’s technical estate over the coming years. Internal and external stakeholder interviews are underway with an external consultant leading this project; the stocktake workshops will be scheduled for June and held virtually. If you have not been in touch to contribute to this work, please contact Wendy Thomas, Technical Lead, [email protected].
We will continue to promote and update guidance for publishing data on COVID-19 and work across the Secretariat to encourage publishers to publish their activities relating to the pandemic. We will incorporate the feedback from the community to finalise the results guidance documents, and make plans for the next round of consultation, which will likely focus on humanitarian guidance.
We also expect to complete the migration of the content on reference.iatistandard.org, which will allow us to close down that website.