Opening our data and our knowledge www.aidinfo.org/resources
Development Initiatives Poverty Research published their first file of IATI data back in July of this year, making them the first NGO to publish IATI data.
*We decided to only publish data from one programme a as a pilot, but will be working over the next 6 months to publish work on all programmes. This will also mean publishing data relating to the work covered by our Programme Partnership Arrangement with DFID, for which part of the funding agreement is to report data to IATI.
The process was manual, as we were only publishing 10 or so separate activities.
3 people working on publication, covering programme staff, finance and some technical capacity for converting the data. The whole process took place over a period of 6 weeks. This covered the internal conversations to agree on publication, mapping our data to the standard and producing the XML file. This preparatory process involved working with different parts of the organisation so the implications for them and contributions needed from them were clear and reflected in working practices. Overall, this took about 2 3 days a week plus input from the technical lead of 5 days and support from finance department of about 1day.
It included all internal discussions and decisions in publishing IATI data, the initial mapping and decisions on activity units as well as initial capture of data, publication and communications work to get the information on to the website.
The most recent data capture process took one person-day, and we envisage that converting the file and publishing will take half a day from two people.
There was no cost for us to publish this first set of data, other than in person hours. *
Briefly this slide shows the mapping process of our data to the standard. We were perhaps a little concerned that there would be a lot of data fields that we couldnt provide information for. In fact, the majority of information we were already collecting. Some we had to work a bit harder to find and report, others we didnt have simply because our working model is so different from a traditional aid donor.
*There is an additional screenshot, so click on this slide twice
The process was manual. This took far too long and leaves to much space for error.
In the future we are going to be using a piece of open source program management software which the TAG is helping to develop. It is called a web entry platform. WE will enter our data into a secure online form, we can then view the data and edit and update as necessary. Finally there will be a function which enables us to produce an IATI XML file out of the data we choose.
This tool will be open source, available to anyone, and free to use and should be particularly useful for small organisations without a lot of activities. At the moment the process will involve keying in the data through the online form, but work is also going ahead to include an import function in Excel.
For DIPR, as work goes ahead with implementation of a new financial management system, we hope to change to an entirely automated publication, with a conversion function on our new finance management software. *Once wed published our data we wanted to ensure that it was as accessible as possible. We created a page on our website which has the URL forward slash open. We decided to follow this model that some organisations are already using (including the World Bank and the white house) of including /open as we feel it is a useful way of signposting to where our data is.
The open page not only includes links to our XML file, but an explanation of what IATI is, the reasons why were publishing our data. Some information on what we are and what we arent publishing, our implementation schedule, and also a link to an open source application which visualises our data.
Web-stats Within a week of us creating the aidinfo open data page, that page became the second most visited page on the website after the homepage.
This slide has three different views of the aidinfo page click to move through them.*Visualising our data was an important step in making it more accessible. AS well as the data being available in the XML format and downloadable as an excel file of the registry, we decided we wanted to somehow visualise our data to tell a story. We worked with some developers who had already been working on tools to visualise IATI data through the aidinfolabs.org website, and used the IATI data explorer to show our information in a more user=friendly way.
This slide shows some screen shots of the data explorer showing the DIPR data.Firstly you can see a list of all the acitivities reported.ii) You can then click onto one of the individual activities to find more details, including the description, a map to show the location of the project, values, dates and descriptions of the transactions, and information on sectors, and aid types.
*An important step for us was being open about the process we went through, so we have written a methodology paper on the process of publishing IATI that can be used by other similar organisations wanting to work on IATI. Sharing knowledge on what we had learnt from the process was as important as publishing the data itself.
If youre interested in this, please visit the aidinfo website resources page.*