SIF Infrastructure Implementation Specification

The Access 4 Learning (A4L) Community defines its global Infrastructure to be simple, secure, scalable, and standard. What each of these terms means changes with technological progress.

The A4L Community works hard to balance capabilities with effort required by developers, and as of late this has been accomplished through our Open Source frameworks especially for Service Providers, which open up a lot of flexibility and expected functionality for Service Consumers to enjoy.

SIF Infrastructure Specifications


Release date: June 29, 2023  |   Certification Program available: No

To find out more about the Privacy Obligation Document (POD) and Global Education Privacy Standard (GEPS), please click here.


Release date: September 21, 2022  |   Certification Program available: No

Release date: January 26, 2022  |   Certification Program available: No

Release date: May 22, 2019  |   Certification Program available: No

Release date: April 24, 2017  | Certification Program available: No

Release date: June 26, 2016  | Certification Program available: No

Release date: May 1, 2015  | Certification Program available: No

Release date: February 20, 2014  | Certification Program available: YES

Release date: July 23, 2012  | Certification Program available: No


Release date: July 23, 2012  | Certification Program available: No

Release date: May 4, 2011  | Certification Program available: No

Features of the Global SIF Infrastructure Specification 3.* series


Thoroughly modern, the Global SIF Infrastructure leverages a REST based approach to data exchange. It defines, coordinates, and standardizes the ways in which multiple RESTful clients can access RESTful services. Enjoy familiar documentation through our OpenAPI driven ReDoc web interface.


While the Global SIF Infrastructure is powered by JSON and XML payload formats, it isn’t choosy about what it moves. In the wild we have seen comma separated values, pictures, and even end-to-end encrypted payloads.


Over twenty years of continuous community development has brought us to this point. The work continues! One of the biggest pieces is real world testing across multiple platforms. Don’t get stuck with an API that doesn’t play well with your toolchain!


The Global SIF Infrastructure is built for efficiency from the first exchange and includes many scalability features to keep data moving as fast as you need it to. Start with familiar REST calls, then keep using REST to keep up to date through multiple mechanisms. You can even take it all the way to real-time.


The Global SIF Infrastructure leverages familiar authentication mechanisms and internet grade security to keep your data on the wire as safe as your money. If you need more, enjoy the flexibility to encrypt your data payloads in part or in full without breaking routing.


The GDPR has changed the privacy landscape and the Global SIF Infrastructure has risen to the challenge by including a Privacy Obligation Document (POD) service. These PODs describe: laws, contract clauses, obligations, benchmarks, retainment rules, and key contacts. The Global SIF Infrastructure makes GDPR compliance affirmable with every exchange and key parts of it enforceable through our Data Protection Enforcer Service model.


The Global SIF Infrastructure is publicly available and free to use! The SIF Implementation Specifications are available under an Attribution-ShareAlike CC BY-SA 4.0 International license ( ). Entities must give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license, and indicate if changes were made. Modifications of this license and derivatives need to be licensed under the same terms, but not other works in the compilation or collection. You may do so in any reasonable manner, but not in any way that suggests the licensor endorses you or your use. If you remix, transform, or build upon the material, you must distribute your contributions under the same license as the original. Entities may not apply legal terms or technological measures that legally restrict others from doing anything the license permits.

Key differences between SIF 3 & SIF 2 Infrastructure Specifications



RESTful Design
Synchronous (Immediate Responses)
Asynchronous (Delayed Responses & Events)
TLS Security


XML fully supported.
Increasing capable JSON support.
Allows movement of any payload.


Master Data Management



Messages over HTTP Post
Asynchronous Only
SSL/TLS Security


XML Only
Combined with Infrastructure



Specification Development

The following supporting documentation can be found on the Technical Support page.