IATI documents

IATI standard

IATI documents are XML text documents that are structured according to the IATI standard. There are two types of documents:

  • IATI organisation documents contain mostly financial information about the organisation as a whole. Registered organisations are asked to produce an Organisation document at least once a year, with information about their expenses over the last three years and their budget forecast for the next three years. IATI asks you to provide high-level information (the main budget or expenditure headings of our organisation), so in essence what you would publish in the annual report that you put on your website or publish in a paper document.
  • IATI activity documents contain information about projects or programmes. They contain information about the duration of the project, its location, who participates, who benefits, what sums were received, transferred and spent, what results were envisaged and achieved, etc. An IATI activity document can contain information about a single project or about a series of projects (all the projects that your organisation did in the year 20xx).

In principle you can set about creating an IATI document using nothing but a word processor (MS Word, Notepad...) and the guidelines of the IATI reference (the Organisation standard or the Activity standard). However, the standard isn't exactly easy reading if you don't know what you're doing (if you're not familiar with XML mark-up language) and in the end you may produce a document that cannot be validated.

There are different tools available to produce IATI documents, which are much easier to use:

  • Logframer is able to produce both IATI Organisation and IATI Activity files in the current version of the standard (2.02). Moreover, Logframer is also able to open (and edit) existing IATI documents in the current or any previous versions of the standard. The biggest advantage of Logframer may be that you don't have to do anything special to create your files, meaning that you don't have to copy information from other documents to your IATI document. You just develop your project and then with the press of a button you get your IATI activity file. Logframer allows you to create an IATI file for a single project, or one file containing multiple projects.
  • Aidstream is an online tool to create both IATI Organisation and and IATI Activity files. It is pretty straightforward to use and guides you through the whole publishing process. You can register your files directly from within Aidstream, which means you don't have to login separately into the IATI register. As a web interface it can work a bit slower because web-pages have to refresh. Aidstream allows you to enter information about every element of the IATI standard. Aidstream allows you to create an IATI file for a single project, or one file containing multiple projects.
  • The IATI secretariat also offers a number of Excel (CSV) templates that you can use to create xml-files. These are good if you want to register basic information about your projects, but they can't handle every element of the standard. Also, in some cases you need to repeat information (when registering transactions for instance).
  • The last possibility is to transfer information directly from your project database or ERP system to the register and to IATI files using a web service (API). To start with, this means that your organisation needs to have such a database and that it contains all the necessary informations. Secondly, you'll have to make a custom-made solution for your database, which means you'll need to make a bigger investment. On the other hand this is certainly worth it if you are a big organisation with many, many projects, because the alternative would be to re-enter all that information manually in Aidstream for instance. For more information, see: https://www.iatiregistry.org/registry-api

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