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 Workplan 2020.
Over the summer we implemented rigorous testing of the Datastore and worked with our supplier, the Zimmerman Team, to iron out critical bugs before launch. In September, I was delighted that IATI formally launched the Datastore along with a new Datastore Query Builder Guide. The Technical Team have begun working with the Zimmerman Team to write the specifications for the remaining Phase 5 work on the tool. You can follow all of the Datastore work on GitHub.
The Validator was also launched in September with detailed Validator FAQs to support users. The Technical Team finalised plans for engaging with IATI members, offering 1-to-1 support calls on using the Validator and advice on improving their data quality. These are key components of IATI’s ongoing work on improving data quality. Over this quarter, the Technical Team has continued refactoring work on the Validator, to speed up the processing of files and reduce its running costs.
You can read more about both of these tools here.
We presented the Technical Stocktake findings to the IATI Governing Board in July and the Board agreed the five core recommendations arising from the Stocktake. You can read more about this in my update blog. The Technical Team began drafting the Stocktake’s high-level roadmap and publishing options implementation plan, which were shared with the Governing Board’s Technical Focal Points in September.
Over the last quarter, d-portal received minor back-end changes to ensure its database size is not exceeded and to allow the site to update more quickly.
Publishing Guidance and Support
This quarter, we drafted an IATI Publishing Guidance Management Process and shared it with IATI’s community on Discuss. We also began work on drafting humanitarian guidance, after engaging with the Grand Bargain Secretariat, UN OCHA FTS, Bond and others. This guidance was shared with the community in September for their feedback before discussion in two webinars in Quarter 4.
Our work for Quarter 4
The main priorities for the Technical Team in Quarter 4 include the following:
Datastore and Validator
For the Datastore, we will continue to progress the remaining Phase 5 work, which includes adding a currency conversion function to the Query Builder and the ability to search for data at activity and transaction level simultaneously. You can follow this work on GitHub. For both the Datastore and Validator we have delivered training webinars for our users in October and we continue to engage proactively with IATI members, offering 1-to-1 support.
Technical Stocktake: next steps
The high-level roadmap and publishing options implementation plan were reviewed by the Governing Board’s Technical Focal Points and presented to the full Board at its October meeting. Both will be shared with members at the IATI Members Assembly in December.
Publishing Guidance and Support
As part of the IATI Standard humanitarian guidance consultation the Technical Team have held two webinars to gain user feedback this month. In Quarter 4, we will also finalise the IATI Publishing Guidance Management Process that has been shared with the community for input. This is a new process that aims to be a pragmatic way forward. We will be monitoring how it works and will revisit this after one year of application.
We are working with the supplier of the IATI Registry to undertake a number of improvements. They include: improving Registry API documentation; completing the CKAN Python 3 upgrade; providing a list of new publishers by the first date they published; and a review of use of Registry metadata fields.
Looking ahead to 2021
Along with the rest of the IATI Secretariat, we are drafting our workplan for 2021, which will be shared with the Board and at the Members Assembly in December. 2021 promises to be an exciting and busy year for the Technical Team, as we progress the recommendations from the Technical Stocktake. I look forward to sharing our plans in my next blog.