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Created: January 21, 2004.
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OASIS Members Form XRI Data Interchange (XDI) Technical Committee.

A new OASIS XDI Technical Committee has been created to define a "generalized, extensible, location-, application-, and transport-independent service for sharing, linking, and synchronizing data over the Internet and other data networks using XML documents and XRIs (Extensible Resource Identifiers), a URI-compatible abstract identifier scheme defined by the OASIS XRI Technical Committee. With XDI, data from any data source can be identified, described, linked, and synchronized into an active, machine-readable "dataweb" just as content from any content source can be identified and linked into the human-readable Web today.

A particular purpose of XDI is to allow the controls needed to mediate access and usage of shared data to be expressed as XDI links. These data sharing controls can govern authority, authentication, authorization, access control, usage control, transmission, synchronization, and rights management. The integration of such controls into a common, generalized data-oriented service can provide a new platform for trusted data sharing networks and applications."

The TC will define an "XDI meta-schema for describing and linking XRI-identified resources, XRI resolution rules within XDI documents, the WSDL for XDI service and bindings to common transport protocols such as HTTP, SOAP, and SMTP/MIME, and the XDI service dictionary. The service dictionary is the set of globally-shared XDI resources that can be used to define, control, secure, and protect data sharing relationships using XDI."

A first meeting of the XDI TC will be held as a teleconference on February 20, 2004. Technical specifications produced by the TC are intended to be royalty-free.

The TC organizers have published a white paper as an introduction to the XDI TC's technical activity: "The Dataweb: An Introduction to XDI.

From the XDI FAQ Document

XDI (XRI Data Interchange) is a new generalized service being developed by the OASIS XDI TC for sharing, linking, and synchronizing data over the Internet (or any other data network) using a common XML representation, called an XDI document. Specifically, XDI consists of three parts:

  • The XDI Meta-Schema: a very simple XML schema that uses XRIs (Extensible Resource Identifiers) developed by the OASIS XRI TC to describe and link data that may be in many other native formats, including other XML schemas.
  • XDI Service: a WSDL-defined protocol for exchanging data and metadata using XDI documents, together with bindings to different transport protocols (HTTP, SOAP, SMTP/MIME, etc.)
  • The XDI Service Dictionary: a set of pre-defined XDI resources for describing other XDI resources and controlling XDI data interchange using XDI link contracts... Technically, an XDI link contract is an XDI document that references other XDI documents in order to describes the terms under which they are shared between two or more XDI authorities. They are directly analogous to real-world legal contracts that control the exchange of information between parties, such as a non-disclosure agreement (NDA). Because link contracts are themselves XDI documents, they can be exchanged, negotiated, shared, and linked just like any other XDI data. This is how XDI data sharing communities can quickly evolve standard data sharing agreements that simplify the development and management of trust relationships.

XDI over SOAP is a Web service. However XDI can also be bound to HTTP for use in 'RESTful' architectures, as well as to other transport protocols like SMTP/MIME. So strictly speaking XDI is a generalized service based on XML document exchange that can be implemented as a Web service.

The general problem XDI is designed to address is interoperable, automated data interchange across distributed applications and trust domains. There are many specific examples of this problem:

  • Exchange, linking, and lifetime synchronization of electronic business cards, public keys, and other common identity attributes across distributed directories (commonly known as dynamic address books).
  • Internet calendar sharing.
  • Trusted search (searches that need to cross multiple private websites).
  • Auto-configuration and intelligent data synchronization across multiple user devices (desktop, laptop, PDA, land phone, cell phone, etc.)
  • Automated website registration, form-fill, and e-commerce transactions.
  • Cross-domain security and privacy management.

From the TC Announcement

As the Internet increasingly becomes the common data interchange platform for all devices, domains, and networks, there is a growing need for a simple, standard way to share data that is common to multiple applications, directories, databases, Web services, and XML schemas while at the same time permitting the authorities for this data to secure, protect, and control its use.

As a data sharing service, XDI is intended to be very simple and generalized, much like HTTP or SMTP. Similarly, the XDI meta-schema is intended to be a very simple and generalized XML schema that can be used either to carry or to describe data encoded in other XML schema languages or referenced externally (much as HTML can either carry content or reference it externally). Such a "lingua franca" for XML data interchange can be used to solve many problems related to mapping and sharing of data and metadata across domains, directories, schemas, ontologies, applications, and languages (both human and machine).

Anticipated Audience or Users of the Work: the work of the OASIS XDI TC will be used by developers and implementers of Web, Web services, and Semantic Web technologies. It will be particularly relevant to architects of trusted computing infrastructure, distributed directory and PKI systems, enterprise application integration (EAI) systems, shared ontologies, and other cross-domain data sharing systems and services.

The proposers of the OASIS XDI TC anticipate that the TC will form liaisons with:

  • The Trusted Computing Group (TCG) Infrastructure Working Group for establishing common use cases and ensuring interoperability of TCG and XDI specifications in trusted computing infrastructure.
  • The Telemanagement Forum (TMF) for establishing common use cases and requirements for using XDI as a mechanism for implementing the TMF SID (Shared Information/Data Model) component of the TMF NGOSS (New Generation Operations System and Software) program.
  • The International Security, Trust, and Privacy Alliance (ISTPA) to adapt the ISTPA Privacy Framework as a reference model for XDI privacy architecture and development of usage control vocabulary in the XDI Service Dictionary.

In no event shall this Technical Committee finalize or approve any technical specification if it believes that the use, distribution, or implementation of such specification would necessarily require the unauthorized infringement of any third party rights known to the Technical Committee, and such third party has not agreed to provide necessary license rights on perpetual, royalty-free, non-discriminatory terms.

The OASIS XRI Data Interchange (XDI) Technical Committee has been proposed by the following members of OASIS: Geoffrey Strongin, AMD; Dave McAlpin, Davis McPherson, and Loren West, Epok; Xavier Serrett, Gemplus; Peter Davis, Neustar; Nat Sakimura, Tetsu Watanabe, Kouichi Nishikata, Tomonori Seki, and Jun Eijima, NRI; Marc Le Maitre, Drummond Reed, and Sean Vanderdasson, Cordance; Lark Allen, Wave Systems; Bill Washburn and Michael Willett, XNSORG; and Owen Davis, Planetworks.

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