IVES Project background

IVES Origins and Governance

The IVES project was born out of a collaboration between HI-Arts, Blue Compass and The List. The initial aim was to create a data set with a unique ID for all arts venues in the UK. This project was subsumed into the IVES project, with Technology Strategy Board funding, the partners being the University of Glasgow, ACT Consultants, Blue Compass and The List.

The IVES partners will establish a suitable legal structure (independent and non-profit) to ensure governance for the project after the conclusion of the current initial development activities.

IVES Overview

The IVES (International Venue and Event Standard) Project is dedicated to the development and promotion of a standard suite of XML specifications and Venue identification tools, designed to ease the automation and exchange of event and venue data.

To date the IVES Project has developed two main services:

These services are (shortly) to be used by several leading publishers to ease the interchange of event and venue information.

Anyone is welcome to use these IVES services and whilst the focus is to drive adoption in the UK, it is the group's intention that these services should ultimately be provided internationally. The system has been designed with this in mind.

The case for IVES / What IVES hopes to achieve

In the UK alone there are tens of thousands of Arts venues which host events on a daily basis. These venues publish event listings on their websites, mail newspapers with their upcoming schedule, and regularly forward program information to members. At this time there is no standard, universally recognised venue ID and no single, standardised format in which event information is disseminated. This being the case, data exports from different venues or publishers have entirely different formats and content.

Aggregating, interacting with and exchanging this data become a complex task – first the correct venue needs to be established, then the key details (performance times, title, description, costs) need to be pulled from the brief.

IVES seeks to provide a standard for communicating event information between venues, publishers and other interested parties. We believe that by providing a public system to uniquely identify venues and combining this with a standard event XML schema we can help facilitate the interchange of event information.

It is our intention to provide a free service to all interested parties, enabling them to quickly and efficiently match venues using the IVES Venue ID Project and then communicate events information using the IVES Event XML Schema.

The IVES Venue ID Project

When exchanging event information it is critical all parties know which venue is being referenced. With many venues having multiple names, and venues opening and closing on a daily basis, a system which uniquely identifies venues will aid the interchange and corroboration of event information.

To this end, IVES has created the Venue ID Project, a system which allocates a unique, persistent, identifier to all arts venues in the UK.

The IVES Venue ID Project is allocating around 35,000 UK venue identifiers and via our public API the coverage of these records will grow.

IVES Venue IDs are unique, persistent identifiers expressed as a URI:


The IVES API and administrative team ensure all venues on the system are unique and there are no duplicate Venue IDs.

Including an IVES Venue ID into a dataset means there is no longer any need to match venues by names, alternative names, address, postcode etc., the Venue ID is a single, unique identifier.

Publishers and venues can interact with IVES using our public API. Here they can list new venues, request a change to existing venue information and match their existing records against our Venue database.

More information about the IVES Venue ID web service can be found online at: https://api.ives.info/doc/

The IVES Event XML Schema

IVES have published a public events XML schema, which is designed to facilitate the interchange of event information. The XML schema provides a standardized way of describing event information.

Whilst the final Schema is relatively comprehensive, its flexible nature and minimal required fields means the schema can be used to describe anything from simple one-off events, a single book reading for example, to the more complex band tours or cinema film screenings across the country.

Given the myriad event types and tags in existence, IVES steers clear of imposing a taxonomy of events, but provides the tools by which publishers and venues can include predefined classification systems.

The IVES event XML schema will be published publicly, for free, under a Creative Commons license.


The List

Simon Dessain, +44 131 550 3050

Blue Compass

Chris Timms, +44 207 700 4994

last updated: 07-05-2009