Open Badges Specification

Portable digital credentials

View the Project on GitHub openbadges/openbadges-specification

About Open Badges

Open Badges Specification Version 1.1

What has changed in version 1.1?

Version 1.1 of the Open Badges spec is a minor change for issuers and is backwards compatible, while introducing several potentially powerful new features including Linked Data and Extensions.

There are three new properties that should be included in badge objects: @context, id, and type. These are components of JSON-LD (for “linked data”). Linked data makes JSON explicit about the subject and content of a specific document.

Extensions enable many issuers to add additional data to badges in the same way as one another, so that those who encounter extended badges can easily learn how to interpret unfamiliar data.

What was the motivation for the changes?

Open Badges are adopting Linked Data, because it will allow badges to be better understood by search engines and other applications that were not necessarily built with a knowledge of badges. Apps that were built to understand existing badges will lose no existing functionality, but may benefit from implementing new 1.1 features, which allow them to understand and display a wider range of information in badges.

What does an issuing platform need to do in order to upgrade to the new standard?

To change hosted 1.0 resources to 1.1, add the three new fields to each badge object.

Assertion

{
"@context": "https://w3id.org/openbadges/v1",
"type": "Assertion",
"id": "https://mydomain.org/assertion/50",
...
}

BadgeClass

{
  "@context": "https://w3id.org/openbadges/v1",
  "type": "BadgeClass",
  "id": "https://mydomain.org/badges/1",
  ...
}

Issuer

{
  "@context": "https://w3id.org/openbadges/v1",
  "type": "Issuer",
  "id": "https://mydomain.org/issuer",
  ...
}

Is 1.1 backwards compatible?

Badges released under 1.1 meet all the requirements for 1.0 badges and should be recognized as valid by all applications designed to work with 1.0 badges, though those applications won’t be able to take advantage of the new features offered by 1.1 until they are updated to understand it.

What is Linked Data and JSON-LD?

JSON-LD is a linked data format for JSON data. From the JSON-LD website: “Linked Data empowers people that publish and use information on the Web. It is a way to create a network of standards-based, machine-readable data across Web sites. It allows an application to start at one piece of Linked Data, and follow embedded links to other pieces of Linked Data that are hosted on different sites across the Web.”

Manu Sporny has some good introductory videos here and here.

What are Extensions?

Exensions are a way for many issuers to add metadata to badges all in the same way, so that their collaboration better justifies consumer applications adapting to understand the new data. See the extensions page for some examples.