Formal standard documents

The HXL Working Group released version 1.1 (final) of the HXL standard on 2018-04-30. The formal standard is a detailed, technical definition of HXL, consisting of two main documents (skip ahead to “Starting points” for simpler ways to start learning about HXL):

  1. The HXL tagging conventions, describing how to construct hashtags and attributes and add them to a dataset (HXL’s syntax).
  2. The HXL hashtag dictionary, listing a core set of common humanitarian hashtags and attributes for interoperability (HXL’s lexicon).

These two parts are similar to a grammar and dictionary for a natural language like English: the grammar explains how to construct sentences, while the dictionary lists the words you can use in those sentences.

Starting points

While the formal standards documents in the are the official definition of HXL, they are not necessarily suitable for a typical user. Here are some more-accessible starting points for someone who just wants to add HXL hashtags to a dataset:

  • This site’s How it works section, containing tutorials and frequently-asked questions.
  • The HXL postcard, providing a simple, postcard-size summary of the main hashtags, attributes and syntax.
  • The third-party HXL hashtag chooser, a tool that helps you select the correct hashtag and attribute by asking you a series of questions.

HXL standards datasets

There are two machine-readable datasets—both hosted on the Humanitarian Data Exchange (HDX)—that are helpful for people who want to build software to support the HXL standard, or to conduct analysis:

  • The HXL core schemas contain a machine-readable list of the core HXL hashtags and attributes in the HXL hashtag dictionary.
  • The HXL master vocabulary list describes core recommended vocabularies/taxonomies to use in datasets.

(The previous version of the standard was HXL 1.0 final.)