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TAP Attribute Terminology

TAP Attribute Dictionary

The TAP Attribute Dictionary defines a broad collection of attributes used across one or more components of the TAP portfolio and across higher education more generally. It is best thought of as an attribute library that can be drawn from to construct other documents, specifications, and software artifacts. As additional attributes of common utility emerge from ongoing work, they may become new entries in the Attribute Dictionary.

The normative specification of the TAP Attribute Dictionary is an abstract data model -- To be of use in code, it must be mapped to specific formats and protocols.

TAP uses the word "schema" as a rather broad and loose term for data models generally. However, beyond that, TAP adheres to its own rigorous definitions of three specific schema-related terms, "representation", "profile", and "protocol".

Representations: Mappings of the TAP Attribute Dictionary abstract entries to a specific markup form, such as JSON, XML, LDAP, or YAML.

Profile: An annotated subset of the Attribute Dictionary specifying syntactic, semantic, and representation restrictions, if any, when using the attribute in a specific context.

  • Example: "The eduPerson Profile [of the Attribute Dictionary]"

Protocol:: A formal specification defining in precise terms the conventions by which two entities interoperate to accomplish a set of actions. Protocols are designed to be implementable in software.

  • Example: eduPerson attributes on an LDAP server can be queried by an LDAP client using the LDAP protocol defined in RFC4519 Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) Schema for User Applications

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