Suggested schema change

To enable encoding of detailed grant information supplied to ANDS by funders, this proposal recommends the following terms be added to the RIF-CS description type vocabulary used in Activity records.


Problem this suggestion addresses

The information supplied by funders about their research grants contains information items that do not have a corresponding element or attribute in RIF-CS in which they can be encoded. The ISO-2146 standard (of which RIF-CS is an implementation) is designed for a registry of collections and services and is not designed for describing research activity.  Currently this structured grant information (eg. dollar amount of the grant, funding scheme, researchers involved) is amalgamated into a single description element of type “notes”.

The new RDA design due for release early in 2015, has a separate search interface for research grants and projects. The requirements for this service include the ability to filter search results based on information items currently concatenated within the one description element. To support this filtering requirement the information needs to be encoded into identifiable RIF-CS elements.

Attached is an annotated mockup of the search results page for this service which is under development.


Identified by

ANDS Staff


RIF-CS schema components affected

registryObject:activity:description /@type


Impact on content providers

No impact on providers is envisaged.  These additional description elements are for use in describing grants and the data required to populate them will be extracted by ANDS from information supplied directly to ANDS by funders


Use of the proposed terms will improve search filtering and enable more detailed analysis of grant information for those that harvest grant information via the ANDS API or OAI-PMH target.

It will allow researchers, libraries, research managers and funders to refine their search for research activity based on researcher, budget and the nature of the grant.


This level of detailed information about research grants is not what RIF-CS was designed to support and using the multiple description elements of different types instead of actual elements or attributes is a work-around which is non-intuitive.

Issues identified with the proposed approach include:


Technical options

The vocabs.xml file will need to be amended to add the new vocabulary term and its definition.

The vocabularies.html will need to be regenerated to reflect the addition of new terms  and the changes to the descriptions of the activity types.

A change will be required to the Content Providers Guide.

RDA changes would have been required but as this change request has come about to support the new RDA design, a completely new search is being coded for research activity specifically, independent of the main RDA search.