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SCIM Schema Extensions

· 2 min read


SCIM Schema is a logical group of attributes,

Every resource type (such "User" or "Group") has a primary schema and possibly optional extensions.

The main schema defines how resources (e.g., "users") of some resource type (e.g., "User") look like,

For example the urn:ietf:params:scim:schemas:core:2.0:User schema defines how a User should look like,

It is encouraged to use this core schema by every application that supports users,

But what happens when we need other attributes that are not covered by the primary schema? for instance, lets say we want to store the user's manager details, since the manager is another user within the system, we want to store a reference to it, manager doesn't exist in the core User schema, thus we need an extension that provides the definition of this attribute,

Luckily, SCIM comes with another schema named enterprise, which is an extension to the core user schema and can be used whenever organization attributes are needed,

JSON representation of User with extension

SCIM distinguishes between the attributes of the primary schema and the extensions by placing the primary schema attributes in the root of the document while extension attributes are stored under the namespace of the extension.

Here is a JSON of a user with the enterprise extension:

"schemas": ["urn:ietf:params:scim:schemas:core:2.0:User", "urn:ietf:params:scim:schemas:extension:enterprise:2.0:User"],
"id": "2819c223-7f76-453a-919d-413861904646",
"externalId": "701984",
"userName": "",
"name": {
"formatted": "Ms. Barbara J Jensen, III",
"familyName": "Jensen",
"givenName": "Barbara"
"displayName": "Babs Jensen",
"urn:ietf:params:scim:schemas:extension:enterprise:2.0:User": {
"employeeNumber": "701984",
"costCenter": "4130",
"organization": "Universal Studios",
"division": "Theme Park",
"department": "Tour Operations",
"manager": {
"value": "26118915-6090-4610-87e4-49d8ca9f808d",
"$ref": "../Users/26118915-6090-4610-87e4-49d8ca9f808d",
"displayName": "John Smith"
"meta": {
"resourceType": "User",

Lets explain the important attributes here:

schemas: Since this is a user record, it must have the urn:ietf:params:scim:schemas:core:2.0:User but this user also have some enterprise attributes (e.g., "costCenter", "manager") it also have the urn:ietf:params:scim:schemas:extension:enterprise:2.0:User schema.

Primary attributes (such id, externalId, etc) are defined in the root level of the record.

Please note: The extension schemas are required to be mentioned only if the record has attributes of the extension, for example, some user records may not have the enterprise schema if they don't don't store any of the enterprise attributes.

urn:ietf:params:scim:schemas:extension:enterprise:2.0:User: Every attribute of the enterprise extension must be defined under the extension urn.

This way we can distinguish from attributes defined in the primary schema and attributes defined in the extensions.