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Welcome to the PESC EdUnify Task Force collaboration space!  If you are not already on the e-mail announcement and discussion list please sign-up to receive PESC EdUnify Task Force announcements and participate in the discussion

What's New

  • Initial use cases posted - November 17, 2009
  • Wiki, distribution list, and Subversion repository available - November 10, 2009


EdUnify is a set of core services enabling the universal registration, lookup, and invocation of web services allowing clients to find, access, and secure data exchange calls. EdUnify will address deployed, implemented, and abstract services.  Deployed services are those that are operational and can be accessed on the web.  Implemented services have been defined and implemented, but are not deployed and operational.  Abstract services are typically either specifications or designs.  Abstract services may or may not have implementations at any point in time.  The high-level goals of EdUnify are to:

  • open and secure access of structured information managed across distributed databases.
  • compatibility with existing technologies, tools and applications.
  • enable development of new technologies, tools and applications.
  • connect disparate systems, applications and technologies.
  • leverage internet connectivity.
  • abstract services to buffer physical properties underlying data sources.
  • utilize a common framework, protocols and semantics accepted by industry stakeholders.
  • communicate data and processes securely, reinforced by reuse.

The specific technical goals of the task force are to:

  • document use cases that articulate our goals
  • design a registry with metadata about web services
  • define the metadata about web services that is essential to maintain to achieve our goals
  • design any integration services required to achieve our goals (for example, an ontology service)
  • develop web service registration and registration maintenance processes that make sense for higher education
  • prove the concept with reference implementations among participating organizations
  • formalize specifications through PESC
  • drive adoption within our organizations

Statement of the Problem

Across education, the utilization and effectiveness of data and information technologies is severely inhibited by access methods, differing protocols, non-standard payloads, varying data definitions, and inability to trust disparate applications stove piped by proprietary design. Billions of dollars are spent annually trying to move data across components employed by stakeholder computer systems. The current state of automation, with all its redundancy, unnecessary aggregation and inaccuracy render a tremendous burden on the educational investment society as a whole is making.

Policy, governance, research, teaching, administration, funding, and learning are all impacted. The unintended consequence of metered design without considering the external interchanges which contribute to additional obstacles and costs is avoidable. The accurate, authoritative and secure transmission of data spanning components and stakeholders would respect and reinforce autonomy and roles, by connection, rather than push the work around mentality that has been fostered by the industry fearful of data access, use and security.

The education industry spends approximately 4% of operating expenses on IT which approximates $50 Billion annually. Of that, approximately 50% or $25 Billion is spent supporting connections and movement of data across disparate applications inside and outside the institution poorly. Even with that much money spent to keep things band-aided together where funding has been applied, the ineffective use of technology is wasting away the capacity of tools and the investment in automation. Without addressing the challenge to bridge systems and components, we will be continually haunted by what could be, rather than what is. Automation can empower and serve the industry with innovation and unity in purpose. Thus, the call for EdUnify, to create a registry, lookup, and supporting services to enable applications and computer systems to seek and connect through a common abstract pipe following community developed methods, protocols, payloads and services promoted on a voluntary basis.

Use Cases

The following use cases demonstrate how EdUnify will help constituents achieve their objectives.  Dave Moldoff to provide initial use cases...Ed Hauser and Steve Wheat will review and edit them as well.



  • December 17/18, 2009

contact Michael Sessa, PESC President & CEO, at michael dot sessa at pesc dot org for access to participate in the list and the wiki.  Much of the content on this wiki is public for viewing, but to create content or view draft content, please contact Michael Sessa about participating in the project to obtain an user account.

EdUnify Registry | What's New | What is Edunify? | Why are we doing this? | Who is involved? | Get Involved | Future Apps | Docs


What's New


What is EdUnify?

EdUnify is simply a registry that indexes Web services for education.  Visit the EdUnify registry to try it out, view demos, register services, and search the registry.  EdUnify:

  1. Is a Web service registry or index and suite of semantic web tools designed to reduce costs of integration and improve efficiency by providing a service-oriented architecture (SOA) governance framework for education.
  2. Allows Web service search implemented as a web application interface for human interaction with the registry or index and a web service interface for programmatic searches of the registry or index.  The search service may be free, a chargeable service, or some combination thereof based on the requirements of the business model.  For example, a simple search may be free, but semantic query tools and functionality might require a fee.
  3. Provides Web service search management and notification, which provides users with a means to specify and manage their searches of the registry or index over time. 
  4. Includes interoperability services are web applications that help users annotate web services definitions with common ontologies, so that EdUnify can apply reasoning to infer equivalencies between web services and perhaps mediate in federated queries of multiple web services.
  5. Is dynamic with its *feedback and rating services, *web applications that allow users of web services to provide feedback on the quality of the design and performance of web services.  This provides valuable feedback to the developers and administrators of web services and most importantly generates more metadata for the EdUnify web service registry or index.  As web services are rated, user may search for web services by quality of design and service level ratings in addition to searching by publisher and function.
  6. EdUnify monitoring services are web applications and web service that monitor web services that have been included in the registry or index and that are designed to be monitored for availability by independent third parties.  For example, if the publisher of a web service provides target service level information and details of how to monitor their web service in their service publication feed, EdUnify can monitor that service for availability, present that data to users, and measure the availability of the service against the target service level.  These operations provide a valuable service to the web service provider (independent verification of service level) and this process generates more metadata about the service for the registry or index.  Users may search for web service by service level and performance in addition to publisher, function, data, user feedback and ratings.


Why are we doing this?

There is an increasing disparity between the number of jobs requiring postsecondary degrees and certificates and the number of United States workers receiving them.  In light of these projected shortfalls, increasing efficiency of higher education and access to postsecondary programs are critically important.  One of the major factors limiting the efficiency of higher education in the United States is the tremendous effort and cost required to integrate information systems across higher education institutions, service providers, and government agencies which provide instruction and services to students.  Gartner Group estimates that higher education spends 50% of its IT budget, or a total of $25 billion annually, on system integration.  This high cost is largely the result of duplication of analysis and implementation work and a lack of sharing and re-use. Much like Google saves countless time and effort locating information and resources on the web, a web service index and registry helps integrators find web services that already exist, use them, and focus effort only on what remains to be done.

EdUnify, a web service registry for higher education, will enable collaboration and reuse of integration analysis and implementation. Web service registries have been employed successfully in other endeavors such as cancer research and life sciences to accelerate data interchange and reuse of costly analytical resources.  With EdUnify institutions of higher education, system vendors, and service providers will be able to integrate their systems more quickly and completely to offer new and improved services for course catalogues, course transfer, course articulation, degree audit, financial aid, career placement, reporting, and much more.

Read more about the need for EdUnify and the significance of the project.


Who's Involved

Over 60 people from 30 colleges, universities, system vendors, online service providers, and government agencies are involved with the PESC EdUnify Task Force.  For a list of Task Force members and contact information, see the PESC EdUnify Task Force Participants page.  To enroll other participants contact Michael Sessa, PESC Executive Director, at michael dot sessa at pesc dot org.


Future Killer Applications for EdUnify

This is a summary of some killer apps that anyone (application vendors, academic institutions, people in their garage, Facebook, Google, Microsoft) could develop when EdUnify exists.  EdUnify is the infrastructure that enables these composite applications.  It is not the intention for EdUnify to build these killer applications, but rather lay the groundwork and provide the infrastructure to promote the development of these new applications that reach across higher education.  Building these killer applications without infrastructure like EdUnify is cost prohibitive and, in fact, many applications won't even be conceived until we can see the landscape of web service across higher education and other sectors.

These are the top ten.  If you have more or better apps you can think of, please add them to the Killer Apps page.  The applications we can envision help provide motivation for building the EdUnify infrastructure.  Like the Web itself, the real killer apps will likely follow the infrastructure.

  1. Faculty Search for Expertise, Schedule, etc.
  2. Student Search for Enrollment Status
  3. Student Progress Traceback Search
  4. Teacher Traceback Search
  5. Lookup Program and Course Learning Outcomes and Comparability
  6. Government Agency Data and Information Collection
  7. Student Guidance and Advising Services
  8. Applications to Accelerate Learning, Research, and Knowledge Gathering
  9. Applications for Mobile, Portable, or Wearable Computer Devices
  10. New Media Applications
  11.


How to Help




Meetings/Events - Agendas

  • Business Plan Work Group meets every other Monday from 1-2pm EDT See Details
  • Technical Work Group meets Mondays 1-2pm EDT (alternating Mondays).  See details
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