Law enforcement gets XML standard for data exchange

The third version of the Justice Department's data dictionary for the Extensible Markup Language is awaiting comment by law enforcement agencies.

Ken Gill, a senior adviser in the Bureau of Justice Assistance's IT Policy Office, briefed the XML Web Services Working Group recently on the effort to standardize data tags for police, court and prison records.

A few years ago, there were no law enforcement standards for electronic data interchange, Gill said. Through the Justice XML Standards Task Force formed in August 2002, state, local, federal and tribal IT officials have been hashing out standards to make their systems talk to each other.

In the first effort to standardize motor vehicle, court and rap sheet data exchanges, representatives of courts, law enforcement, probation departments and prisons negotiated 175 core data elements and their syntax. That became the Reconciled Data Dictionary 1.0.

Version 3.0 contains 300 data objects and reusable Web services components, Gill said.

The data dictionary is the core of a complex system of XML schemas, document specifications and architectural standards for law enforcement data interoperability.

The task force wants to test horizontal interoperability with external agencies and jurisdictions at the same level'such as between two states or counties'and vertical interoperability among tribal, state and local offices.

The data dictionary is online, at www.it.ojp.gov/jxdd. The Georgia Tech Research Institute of Atlanta, which developed the technical model and documentation for the dictionary, provides background information at justicexml.gtri.gatech.edu.

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