This version of the Ed-Fi ODS / API is no longer supported. See the Ed-Fi Technology Version Index for a link to the latest version.


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The Ed-Fi Identities API provides an abstraction wrapper for an optional native identity system. Because the underlying system as well as individual methods are optional, coordination with the owner of the implementation is essential when consuming these methods. The Ed-Fi Identities API attempts to (as far as possible) minimize the vendor customization needed to work with an identity system.

The Identity System Web API (available at /identity/v2/) supports the following methods:

  • POST identitiesCreates a new Unique ID for the given Identity information.
  • GET identities/{id}. Retrieve a single person record from their Unique ID.
  • POST find. Retrieve a multiple person records from their Unique IDs.
  • GET results/{id}. Retrieve asynchronously prepared results from a previously accepted search/find request.
  • POST search. Look up existing Unique IDs for a person, or suggest possible matches.

If a particular method is not available for an underlying implementation, or there is no implementation, an HTTP 404 Not Found response is issued.

Synchronous and Asynchronous Bulk API

For the Find and Search endpoints, a client should accept either an HTTP 200 Success result with data or a 202 Accepted result. When a 202 Accepted result is returned, a Location header value is included in the response that should be called to retrieve the results at a later time from the Result endpoint.

The Result endpoint will return a 200 Success response with a search response status of “Incomplete” with no data or “Complete” with the results. The following diagram provides an overview of the program workflow:

Figure 1. Identities API workflow

This workflow allows for server resources to be minimized while performing potentially expensive identity operations on remote resources and also allows for flexibility in the Identity Service in performing synchronous or asynchronous operations as appropriate for the performance characteristics of the back-end identity service.

Client code should follow the pattern of the following pseudo-code in most cases:

result <= client.Post(queryURL, queryData)
While result.HttpStatus is 201 or 202
    result <= client.Get(result.location)
if result.HttpStatus = 200 && result.Data.Status = “Complete”
return Error condition

Identity Service Interfaces

Identity service wrappers are written by implementing a synchronous interface — and optionally, an asynchronous interface. While it is recommended to implement each method of both interfaces to provide a consistent Identity API for software vendors, it is not required if the platform host's policy forbids Create and/or Find.

Synchronous Identity Service Interface          

The synchronous interface (IIdentityService) consists of the following methods:

  • IdentityServiceCapabilities IdentityServiceCapabilities { get; }
  • Task<IdentityResponseStatus<string>> Create(IdentityCreateRequest createRequest);
  • Task<IdentityResponseStatus<IdentitySearchResponse>> Find(params string[] uniqueIds);
  • Task<IdentityResponseStatus<IdentitySearchResponse>> Search(params IdentitySearchRequest[] searchRequest);

Identity Service Capabilities

This property describes to the Identities API which of the other methods are supported by the service. The values Create, Find, and Search correspond to their respective methods. Returns a logical OR of the supported methods as represented by the IdentityServiceCapabilities enumeration values.

Identity Response Status

Each of the remaining methods returns an Identity Response Status wrapped by a task. These codes are used to communicate success or failure conditions with the API controller. The Identity Response Status is one of following result codes:

  • Success – the request has been processed and the results are available in the body of the response.
  • Incomplete – the search result is not yet ready.
  • InvalidProperties – there is a problem with the provided data.
  • NotFound – the requested identity or search token was not valid.

Returning Tasks

Wrapping native results in Tasks allows for asynchronous handling of resource-intensive requests. This approach allows the web server (typically Microsoft IIS) to perform more efficiently and handle more requests without blocking.

An implementer of the Identity Service will use the async/await code pattern to call the actual back-end service. For an integrated Identity Service, returning "Task.FromResult(result)" instead of just "result" is sufficient to integrate with this model. Calls to external Identity Services should be invoked using await for calls to external resources (such as databases and web services).

An implementation that uses "worker threads" in the course of processing identities is likely not properly using the async/await pattern. Please see if you have questions regarding correct async/await code patterns.

Synchronous Create

This method returns the Unique ID of a newly created identity. Bulk identity creation is not supported by the service interface. This method returns "Success" or "Invalid Properties" Identity Response Status values.

Synchronous Find

For each provided Unique ID, this method returns an array of IdentityResponses. Each IdentityResponses object contains an array of zero or one IdentityResponse objects. There must be zero elements in the array if there is no corresponding Identity and one element if there is a match. This method returns a "Success" Identity Response Status value.

Synchronous Search

For each Identity Search Request value, this method returns an IdentityResponses containing zero or more IdentityResponse values. The Score property of the IdentityResponse indicates how well the IdentityResponse matches the provided Identity Search Request: 100 is a perfect match. It is strongly suggested that the number of matches be limited to statistically likely matches. This method returns a "Success" Identity Response Status value.


The properties of the transfer objects in the Ed-Fi Identities API are as follows:

  • string LastSurname
  • string FirstName
  • string MiddleName
  • string GenerationCodeSuffix
  • string SexType
  • DateTime? BirthDate
  • int? BirthOrder
  • Location BirthLocation
    • string City
    • string StateAbbreviation
    • string InternationalProvince
    • string Country

As noted above, platform hosts may implement variations on the Identities API suitable for their environment. It is highly recommended that any Identity System support these properties. However, if a system does not support these properties, each of them accepts a null value. In the case of Location, an empty location object should be returned even if the location values are not supported.


IdentitySearchResponse is a wrapper class that contains a Search Response Status property called "Status" that has a value of "Incomplete" or "Complete". For a synchronous response or a resolved asynchronous response, the value is "Complete". It also contains an array of Identity Search Responses called "SearchResponses", one array for each Identity Search Request or Unique ID provided to the Search or Find endpoints respectively. These results are arranged in the same order as the original requests.

Additionally, some systems will also have more information that may be used to establish uniqueness among identities. Some examples of this sort of additional information include:

  • School registration information
  • Government-issued identity numbers
  • Ethnicity or race information
  • Aliases or previous names

The as-shipped Ed-Fi ODS / API does not include this additional information. Adding every permutation of these fields is a maintenance challenge and can obfuscate the core properties that are universally useful.

Any additional properties attached to the IdentityCreateRequest, IdentitySearchRequest, and IdentityResponse classes are transparently passed through to the Identity Service implementations as dynamic properties, and may be accessed like any other property. In C# this may be accomplished by declaring a variable of one of these classes as dynamic. Other client languages may work directly with JSON results or use other calling mechanisms. The TestIdentitiesService and IdentitiesModelTests unit tests demonstrate this capability in C#.

The following diagram shows a process flow that illustrates how additional properties are transparently passed through the Identities API for processing by the back-end Identity System:

Figure 2. Identity API process flow

The process flow steps are as follows:

  1. The client application (typically a SIS) provides the core Ed-Fi Identities properties as well as some additional properties used by the Ed-Fi Identity System. The additional properties are serialized with the core properties in the request body as JSON properties. Strong or weak typing may be employed in the client application.
  2. The Identities API transparently passes these additional properties to the IIdentityService implementer as dynamic properties.
  3. The IIdentityService implementer, as a wrapper for the back-end identity system, is aware of the additional properties and accesses them by casting the request or response objects as dynamic and accessing the properties normally. They map the Ed-Fi Identity object properties and additional properties to the Identity System native properties and call the back-end identity system.
  4. Responses follow the same flow back through to the client application.

Asynchronous Identity Service Interface        

The asynchronous interface (IIdentityServiceAsync) consists of the following methods:

  • IdentityServiceCapabilities IdentityServiceCapabilities { get; } 
  • Task<IdentityResponseStatus<string>> Find(params string[] uniqueIds);
  • Task<IdentityResponseStatus<string>> Search(params IdentitySearchRequest[] searchRequest);
  • Task<IdentityResponseStatus<IdentitySearchResponse>> Response(string requestToken);

These methods are described below. 

Identity Service Capabilities

Bulk Create is not supported, therefore Create is ignored as an Identity Service Capability. If either Find or Search are supported, then the Response method must also be implemented.

Bulk Asynchronous Workflow

Under the bulk asynchronous workflow, results are not immediately returned when a Find or Search request is issued, instead a search token is issued. This token may be “redeemed” later for the search results by calling the Response method of the interface. Tokens should remain valid for a “reasonable” amount of time (minutes, not hours), or until they have been redeemed for the search results.

Asynchronous Find

A find operation for the provided Unique IDs is initiated and a token returned to the caller. "Success" is the only valid Identity Response Status.

Asynchronous Search

A search operation for the provided identity search request values is initiated and a token returned to the caller with a "Success" Identity Response Status or an "Invalid Properties" Identity Response Status.

Asynchronous Response

If the previously initiated find or search request is complete, then the results are returned along with a "Success" Identity Response Status. Otherwise, an "Incomplete" Identity Response Status is returned with a location header value. If the token is not recognized, a "Not Found" Identity Response Status is returned.


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