Democratizing Data by Making it Both Machine and Human Readable

Posted on November 13, 2015 by Dave Nitchman

The adoption of XBRL in over 60 countries has powered the evolution from human readable only filings in the form of paper or pdf (which is just paper on a screen) to machine readable structured data. But humans want to read the same information that computers have access to – in familiar, document form.

Enter Inline XBRL (iXBRL). By allowing XBRL data to be both embedded into an HTML presentation of a report and readily extracted into a standard XBRL instance document, it’s possible to choose whether to read a business report the way the preparer laid it out, or through the digitally enhanced eyes of an analytics system. By giving  users of structured data an interactive experience, we increase its value across the entire business reporting supply chain.

iXBRL has been used by the UK HMRC for low cost filings and making data widely and freely available. You can read an iXBRL UK whitepaper on that. Japan and Denmark use it today. The US SEC is also heading in that direction. You can read about that and other news about iXBRL here.

The Inline XBRL specification is just one way in which XII is responding to market needs. You’ll hear more about another – the Open Information Model – in the weeks ahead.

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