Archives FAQs

| February 16, 2022

If no HXL hashtag is a perfect match, you still have a few options: 

  • You can use a more general hashtag combined with attributes, e.g. #affected +refugees +injured +elderly +f for the number of elderly refugee women injured. 
  • You can use the general #indicator hashtag combined with your own custom attribute to identify an indicator specific to your own organisation, project, or cluster, e.g. #indicator +facilities_damaged +num for the number of facilities damaged (where +facilities_damaged is the attribute that you created). 
  • If no general hashtag applies, you can create your own custom hashtag beginning with “x_”, e.g. #x_virulence for the virulence of a disease.

 More information is available in the HXL standard, 3.2. Creating extension hashtags.

 


| February 16, 2022

No. It is fine to leave some columns untagged, especially if they’re highly-specialised data that wouldn’t be of general interest. However, if the answer to any of these questions is “yes,” we strongly recommend tagging:

  • Is the column important for connecting your data with related datasets (e.g. locations, dates, sectors, org names, population figures)?
  • Do you want to be able to work on the data in the column using HXL-aware tools (transform, validate, visualise, search, etc)?
  • Do you want to be able to operate on the data yourself, even if the column orders or headers change (e.g. importing into a database)?

| February 16, 2022

HXL has a selection of attributes for distinguishing sex and age. For sex, it has +f for female, +m for male, and +i for non-gender-binary; for broad age groups, it has +infants, +children, +adolescents, +adults, and +elderly. You can also use +total to distinguish a column that sums up the others. Here are some examples, using #affected +idps (number of internally displaced people) as a base:

#affected +idps +f +children number of internally-displaced girls
#affected +idps +m +adults number of internally-displaced men
#affected +idps +total total number of internally-displaced people

Sometimes, you will want to include specific age groups in addition to the broad ones in the HXL core. To do that, create your own attribute with the starting with “age_” followed by the first number, an underscore, and a second number. For example, to tag girls age 5-12, you could use #affected +f +children +age_5_12. Note that it’s still important to include the general +children attribute.

 


| February 16, 2022

HXL uses the attribute +ind to specify that a column of numbers applies to individuals, or +hh if the column applies to households. Individuals is assumed by default. For example, a column with the number of refugee households targeted for assistance would be described using #targeted+refugees+hh whereas the number of refugees targeted for assistance could be described using either #targeted+refugees or #targeted+refugees+ind.


| February 11, 2022

Representatives from the Humanitarian Innovation Fund, IOM, OCHA, Save the Children, UNHCR, UNICEF, USAID, the World Bank, and the World Food Program made up the original HXL Working Group. The HXL standard is the product of a multi-organization working group, with support from the members of a community mailing list.

Since 2018, representatives from the following organizations have participated in the HXL Working group: UNOCHA, British Red Cross, INSO, UK DFID, IFRC, IOM, UNHCR, British Red Cross, IDMC, and the World Bank. The Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Education Above All Foundation kindly provide ongoing funding to support HXL standards development.


| February 11, 2022

Inspired by social-media hashtags, HXL fits in with the way you work and helps you add value to the data you’re already creating, rather than trying to force you to do things differently. Unlike most data standards, HXL is cooperative rather than competitive. A competitive standard typically considers the way you currently work to be a problem, and starts with a set of demands:

  • Switch to a different data format (and acquire and learn new software tools).
  • Change the information you share (and the way your organisation collects and uses that information).
  • Abandon what is valuable and unique about your organisation’s data (and conform to the common denominator).

For HXL, we reversed the process and started by asking how you’re working right now, then thought about how we can build a cooperative standard to enhance it:

  • You told us that most humanitarian organisations use spreadsheets for data sharing, so HXL works with your existing spreadsheets.
  • You told us that every crisis and activity has different data requirements, so HXL offers a selection of hashtags that you can mix and match to suit your reporting needs.
  • You told us that sometimes your organisation collects types of information that no one else has, so HXL allows you to leave columns untagged, or to invent your own hashtags when you still want to share.

With HXL, there’s no new reporting channel and no new skills requirements. We know that you have more-important things to do than reporting, so we’ve designed HXL to minimise the work and maximize the value of sharing information.


| February 11, 2022

If you know how to edit a spreadsheet, then you are ready to share HXL data. This is an important design criterion for HXL: that it fit in with existing skills in the humanitarian community, rather than requiring extensive retraining. With thousands of humanitarian organisations responding to crises around the world, it would not be practical to expect you all to train staff and volunteers to learn to use a more-complex data structure like XML, JSON, or RDF, or to all learn and adopt additional software to support one of those formats.

To add HXL hashtags to a spreadsheet, simply insert a row between the headers and the data values and add HXL hashtags to that row. Some larger humanitarian organisations don’t rely exclusively on spreadsheets, but have built special applications for data management. For example, UNHCR operates a series of operational data portals that generate CSV data for download from their information systems. HXL can work with systems like these just as easily as it can work with hand-created spreadsheets. Again, no additional skills are required from the systems’ development teams: simply add an additional row of HXL hashtags to the CSV data that you’re already exporting, and then others will be able to analyse and integrate it more easily.


| November 19, 2021

| November 19, 2021

| November 4, 2021

| November 4, 2021

| September 21, 2021

Any other license or terms of use which are listed in the description of the dataset, or in the metadata fields of the dataset, or any other place in the dataset such as a specific license or terms of use file that is included as part of the dataset files.