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Terminology Guide/Glossary
Terminology Guide/Glossary
Tim Kamen avatar
Written by Tim Kamen
Updated over a week ago

Below is a list of common terms used throughout Sift and a brief description of each one to help with the implementation process.


A user who has access to all features of the admin dashboard and some additional permissions inside of the Sift People Directory to manage profiles.


Describes a common piece of data on your people, such as an office phone number, a collection of skills, or an email address. Attributes can be created and updated by admins, added to profile pages, and/or be imported from your data systems.

Azure Active Directory

One of our data sync methods. Azure Active Directory (AAD) is Microsoft’s cloud-based identity and access management service.


The second step in getting Sift set up for your organization. Configuration mainly deals with the appearance of your organization’s Sift.


One of our data sync methods. You are able to add data into Sift via a spreadsheet saved as a .csv. To automate this process in a secure way, use our easy-to-set-up SFTP integration.

Custom Widget

Allows easy access to Sift from your company intranet through embedded HTML.


A Directory represents a population of people within your organization that can be sourced from a single integration. Within each Directory in Sift, you will hold a unique set of people data, that will create and populate Sift profiles.

If all of the people in your organization whom you want to be in Sift are represented in a single system, you will probably only ever need a single Directory in Sift. However, if some of your people live in one system, and some live in another, you may need to set up multiple directories.


The first step in getting Sift set up at your organization. During integration you are ensuring that all of your data is sent to Sift properly and appearing on Sift profiles neatly.


One of our data sync methods. This method will let you sync with on-premises systems such as Active Directory or other LDAP compatible sources.


To ensure your data transfers to Sift correctly, you must create mappings from your data source to Sift’s attributes. An example is mapping “employee_email” to show as “Email” in Sift.


The third step in getting Sift set up at your organization. Onboarding helps to ensure that all employees at your organization are aware of Sift and how it will benefit your organization.


In addition to the Admin access, Owners have some special protections against data deletion and misconfiguration. This is to ensure that you never reach a state where nobody at your company has access to Sift.


Within each Directory, data is provided to Sift by one to many Source(s). Each Source represents an integration to one of the above source types, whether it be something like a simple CSV file, or a direct API integration.

The primary source within each directory is responsible for provisioning (creating and deleting) each profile in Sift. In primary sources, we require that you provide basic information on each user (first name, last name, and email address). When a new person is added in a primary source, a profile is created for them, and when a person is deleted from the primary source, a profile is deleted. Each Directory must have exactly one primary source, and it is created when the Directory is created.

A Directory can also optionally have any number of complementary sources. With complementary sources, you can append additional data to the profiles created by your primary source. We'll usually see this in cases where there's a piece of data that's not present in the primary source, but you'd still like to add it to profiles. This could be something like a CSV import from a skills tool, or a separate system containing employee birthdays.

Profile Layout

The order in which Attributes appear on a Sift profile page.

Sift Support

The ability for an admin to assign an email to receive all Sift questions. Also the ability for an employee to contact someone at their own organization to help them with Sift.


The fourth and final step in getting Sift set up at your organization. Sustainment ensures that Sift will be known, loved, and useful to your organization for years to come.


The ability to add colors, logos, and default photos to your organization’s Sift.

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