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About XCRI

What is XCRI-CAP?

eXchanging Course Related Information, Course Advertising Profile

XCRI-CAP is the UK standard for describing course marketing information. It shows how to structure the information, defines and names the data items and specifies the types of data permitted within each item. Once course marketing information is standardised, it can be shared between multiple organisations, particularly between Higher Education Providers and aggregating organisations such as UCAS, Prospects and Hotcourses.

It is used to improve the way staff do things within their own organisation and in partnership with other organisations. It gives organisations the capability to offer new and enhanced services to users of course related information. Its standard format and common definitions make it possible for information in different systems to be shared and updated without having to re-enter data.

The latest version of XCRI-CAP (v2.1) is the UK interpretation of the European standard for courses information, Metadata for Learning Opportunities (MLO) and is also a British Standard (BS8581). It is commonly implemented using XML (eXtensible Markup Language).


XCRI-CAP has been in development since 2005, but the major surge in interest came with the Course Data Programme in 2012/2013. Since then it has garnered increasing interest from aggregators as well as institutions, a full list of which can be found on the XCRI Users pages.

Read more about the history of XCRI-CAP.


XCRI Structure

The basic structure of XCRI-CAP is shown above. A catalog is published by a provider, which offers a course, which leads to a qualification and/or credit, via a presentation. Each of these headline structural elements contains relevant, more detailed, information. For example, a few couple of elements in each of these categories are:

  • a catalog has a description and a contributor
  • a provider has a title (e.g. X University) and an address
  • a course has prerequisites and a url
  • a qualification has an abbr (abbreviation) and who it is awardedBy
  • a presentation has a start date and studyMode (e.g. full time)

Together all the elements define all the information required to market a course.