New joint initiative launched to build the next key piece of open data infrastructure

Phot By: Tania Chatterjee

A group of leading open data standards bodies have announced an exciting new collaboration to tackle a shared problem: how to accurately identify organizations.

The identify-org initiative was launched on Friday 7th October at the International Open Data Conference (IODC) in Madrid. It brings together key organizations driving standards for open data across a range of sectors including contracting, extractives, international aid, agriculture, and philanthropy. A challenge shared by all these initiatives is how to accurately and consistently identify an organization. Whether it’s a charity in the UK, a company in Malaysia, or a government department in Canada, the ability to describe these different entities in a consistent way is key to opening and linking up data about their activities, ensuring it is accessible and useful.

The initiative will establish an open interface so that anyone can find known organization registries; it will also embark on a research process to highlight others. Acting together, the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI), Open Contracting Partnership360Giving, Joined Up Data Standards (JUDS), and the Initiative for Open Ag Funding will build a key piece of open data infrastructure to enable the free exchange of information on entities, regardless of sector or jurisdiction.

To do this, the project partners have agreed to support efforts to gather and share information on different registers of organizations across the world, backed-up by a common methodology to describe these in open data. In turn, this will provide a foundation for the open data community to both share and use identifiers about organizations, using this common protocol.

The International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) kick-started this work in 2012. IATI has agreed to share its initial efforts with identify-org, enabling others to build upon the ‘list of lists’ of registries of organizations.

By working together, the project partners are pooling their knowledge of the different organization registers that are currently available so it can be used by different standards bodies in a consistent way.

For more details about Identify-org and the initiative partners, visit:

Blog originally posted at 360Giving.