Understanding the SIF  Specification now will save you time later


The SIF Implementation Specifications can be heavy reading – there’s no way of hiding it!  As a marketplace developer it should be a familiar exercise, but as an end user all you might need to do is demand SIF utilization by your software provider in your RFP – it’s an open and free blueprint for them!

But, at some point, you may be interested to find out exactly what data can be moved using SIF, which in turn will help you understand what issues SIF can solve.


Here is a quick guide for what to look for, where to find it, and how to understand it…

Unless you have a technical background, it is unlikely that you will need to refer to the Infrastructure section of the SIF Implementation Specification.

For those wanting to see what data is moved, the Data Model section of the specification is available to view/download in various formats – html, xls, zip.

We will concentrate on the html version, as follows:

Item 3 – Data Model – provides you with a list of objects currently included within that Specification release. It is well worth reading the introduction section, as this will provide additional clarity on the tables, symbols and characters that you will be presented with through the documentation. Each item within the Table of Contents is linked to the section within the whole document. You can always come back to the beginning, by clicking either ‘home’ or ‘table of contents’ at the top of the page.

All sections of this part of the Specification are laid out in a similar way. First you have a description of the object, then a table showing the structure of the object, followed by a table underneath. This table provides more detail – an object description, the characteristics of the object/element (mandatory, optional, conditional etc.), and finally the Type – this column provides you with additional detail on the field (i.e. links to code sets and specific details)