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The Information Transparency Initiative (ITI) and the Open Data Initiative (ODI): Similarities, Differences, and What These Projects Mean for You.

5 March 2018
By Duncan Burns and David Conrad

You've heard and read about the Information Transparency Initiative (ITI) and the Open Data Initiative (ODI), but you may be unsure of the difference between the two projects.

ITI and ODI share a similar goal – to make it easier for the ICANN community to access information. This goal is in service of the ICANN organization's commitment to accountability and transparency. While ITI and ODI share a similar goal, the two initiatives are distinct projects that tackle different types of ICANN information and use different methods of making that information more transparent.

What is ODI?

ODI's objective is to provide the ICANN community with access to raw data through an open data platform. The ICANN org will:

  • Build processes and support for this platform to enable the sharing of ICANN data.
  • Consider procedures and methods of working in a data‑rich environment.
  • Ensure this resource is used effectively, creatively, and responsibly.

As we discussed earlier, the ICANN org has commitments to accountability and transparency, and ODI must reflect and demonstrate those commitments. The default position must be that all ICANN data is open unless there are significant reasons to treat it otherwise. If data is important enough for the ICANN org to collect and store, then it is important enough to share with the ICANN community. It is not the ICANN org's role to determine which data is useful to publish or decide how stakeholders will use this data. The more we make data available, the more useful and valuable it becomes – as people analyze it, combine it, and enhance it in ways we cannot predict and most importantly, in ways we must not constrain.

It will take time to implement ODI, but the resulting open data platform will be comprehensive and authoritative. ODI will provide the ICANN org with a more formalized approach to data management and will give the ICANN community greater access to data.

The ICANN community has called for such an initiative and has listed a wide range of uses and benefits they will get from open data, including a shift towards evidence-based policy.

What Is ITI?

ITI is focused on improving access to and findability of ICANN's published information through the implementation of a first-ever document management system (DMS) and the enforcement of content governance. ITI will begin with content on https://www.icann.org, which includes over 104,000 webpages, reports, correspondence, infographics, and audio and video files. The ICANN Board approved funding for ITI in September 2017 at its Montevideo Meeting (click the link to read the Board resolution and learn more about ITI's goals). The project officially kicked off in January 2018 and is expected to deliver that increased transparency of information and improved search in December 2019.

To increase transparency of ICANN's public information and make it easier for you to access this information, we need to:

  • Improve the multilingual navigation of https://www.icann.org.
  • Implement multifaceted search in all six U.N. languages.
  • Give users the ability to receive new public content directly to their inboxes if that is their preference.

During this 24-month initiative, we will rebuild the foundations of the technical infrastructure of ICANN's information management and content presentation with a new DMS and a new content management system (CMS). We will use the DMS to implement and enforce content governance through a consistent, multilingual taxonomy and improved information architecture. This work will also serve as foundational elements for 22 ICANN web properties, including the Supporting Organization and Advisory Committee (SO/AC) sites. ITI will begin with https://www.icann.org and 14 other ICANN web properties.

The ICANN community's feedback is vital to the successful implementation of ITI. We will be conducting regular sessions at ICANN Public Meetings, arranging webinars, and sharing information and updates in blogs like this one. We are also launching a platform, http://feedback.icann.org to give you the opportunity to share feedback directly on the content and features we are working on. The feedback site will be available on April 2018.

Read more about ITI in two previous blogs:


Below is a chart that helps explain the difference between the two initiatives:

Goal Increased transparency, and improved accessibility and availability of information. Increased transparency, and improved accessibility and availability of information.
Information Type All content on https://www.icann.org and 14 other web properties. Raw data that meets the data classification policy for public release.
Method Rebuild of technical infrastructure of ICANN's information management, and implementation and enforcement of content governance through a new DMS and CMS. Evaluate, collect, and publish data that ICANN creates or collects that is relevant to ICANN's mission or the unique identifiers that it helps to coordinate.
Platform New DMS and improved https://www.icann.org. An ICANN open data platform.
Expected Delivery December 2019 RFP is under development.

The ICANN org has made commitments to improve its accountability and transparency, and these two initiatives are important steps in helping the ICANN org meet those goals.

ICANN61 Cross Community Session

Members of the ITI and ODI teams will be presenting and available to answer questions at: the Cross Community Session: Open Data & Information Transparency at ICANN: Developing Avenues Forward.

The session is scheduled for Wednesday 14 March at 1030 in Ballroom A.

Please do attend the session and we look forward to seeing you all at ICANN61.

If you have any questions about these initiatives, email us at:

ITI: informationtransparency@icann.org

ODI: odi-pilot@icann.org


Duncan Burns

David Conrad

David Conrad