Key Terms for IATI

The world of IATI can be a minefield of jargon and confusing acronyms.

This page sets out to define some of the key terms our members may encounter when publishing to IATI, and explains their significance.

  • IATI: International Aid Transparency Initiative – a technical publishing framework allowing development cooperation data to be compared.
  • CSV: Comma-Separated Value – a data format where commas divide fields of information and the data is presented in a ‘flat’ format, i.e there are no tabs. Several computer programmes can recognise this format and represent the information as divided by columns, such as Excel, Numbers, Calc, Open Refine. Data in CSV format is predominantly viewed as a spreadsheet.
  • XML : Extensible Markup Language – a language which is both machine-readable and human-readable, and is the dominant data format of IATI. A computer can pick out specific content from the data as it is categorised into different fields of information. Some internet browsers are able to portray XML in a more human-readable way instead of as a mass of text, which allows the user to check if the correct fields are in place and minimum requirements are being met. Firefox and Google Chrome organise the data into drop-down menus and categories, whereas Safari does not show XML in an accessible way.
  • Schema: data structure/rules of the IATI Standard. There are different versions of the Schema that will have slightly different rules. IATI v1.03 is the earliest version that is still valid, and this is the schema that AidStream currently publishes. The next update will be to IATI v2.01.