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Specifications of EWP's Interinstitutional Agreements API.
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README.md

Interinstitutional Agreements API

Summary

This document describes the Interinstitutional Agreements API. This API allows partners to compare their copies of interinstitutional Erasmus+ mobility agreements with each other, which makes it easier to spot errors.

Introduction

As part of the EWP project, we have thoroughly discussed many options of how to design the functionality of synchronizing IIAs between different HEIs. We have proposed multiple solutions, and then rejected them, either because of their limited functionality, or their complexity.

This document describes the solution we ended up agreeing to.

It is not (!) required in EWP mobility flow

The most important feature to understand about this solution, is that HEIs are not required to neither serve nor use this API.

This API is not part of the primary mobility flow modeled in EWP. You can still exchange information on Nominations and Learning Agreements without implementing this API. It serves only as a helper API to spot differences between IIAs. If you choose to implement it, then you should probably implement it after all the other APIs.

  • Why not required? IIA is an official document. Therefore, it seems reasonable to assume that:

    • Each of the partners possesses a printed copy of this document.
    • Their computer systems are somewhat aware of the data contained within.
    • This data is usually correct (in sync with the partner's copy).

    Other EWP APIs will refer to IIA IDs (and IDs only). This means that, although all partners might need to exchange these IDs, they still are allowed to simply assume that their own local copy of this IIA is correct (and it usually is).

  • Why would I want to implement it then? Because we can do better than "usually" (see the sentences above). If we expose our agreements to the other partner via an API, then the partner will be able to compare the contents more easily, and possibly find differences in an automated way. In the future, when new agreements are forged, it might also enable the partner to copy the agreement's data directly from one computer system to another, without the need of typing it by hand.

Other features

  • It is distributed. Agreements (IIAs) are stored and hosted only by the institutions involved in these agreements. No agreements are stored on central servers at any time.

  • All partners are equal. There is no "master" of the agreement. Since all partners of a single IIA are allowed to serve their copies of this IIA, therefore multiple conflicting copies of a single IIA may exist in the network. These conflicts are not resolved by the system itself, but our APIs allow partners to discover such conflicts early (so that they may fix them by themselves).

  • No history of changes. This API will serve only a single copy of the agreement (with no history of previous versions). This copy should be the copy which is currently in use by the HEI which is serving the API.

Where are the fact sheets?

If you compare our IIA XSDs to EUC IIA templates, you may notice that many fields seem to be missing in our XSDs. This is because we have decided to include many fields in the Institutions API instead.

We tried to follow the following rules:

  • We were aiming for IIAs API to describe only such data, which "belongs to" (and is often stored by) all IIA partners, whereas Institutions API and Organizational Units API describe data which "belongs to" a single partner only (and other partners often don't really need to store it).

  • Data which is public, and can be changed without signing the IIA again, has been made part of the Institutions API (and - in some cases - Organizational Units API). Data which is not necessarily public, and which can be changed only after the IIA is signed again, has been made part of the IIAs API.

As you can see, these are NOT very strict nor explicit rules. And also, we did not necessarily follow them to the letter. As a result, sometimes it might not be obvious where a particular piece of data can be found, but - once you get to know the model - all should gradually become clear.

Security

This version of this API uses standard EWP Authentication and Security, Version 2. Server implementers choose which security methods they support by declaring them in their Manifest API entry.

Endpoints to be implemented

Server implementers MUST:

The details on each of these endpoints are described on separate pages of this API specification (use the links above).

Data model entities involved in the response

  • IIA
  • IIA Partner
  • Cooperation Condition
  • Coordinator
  • Person
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