Internaut: XML extensions ease sharing of business data

Shawn P. McCarthy

As government gets ready to share more types of security data to deter terrorism, it's a good time to ask whether your agency is prepared to share ordinary business data.

I've previously written in this space about the Global Justice Extensible Markup Language Data Model for tagging criminal, public safety and community data so it can be shared effectively across agencies and jurisdictions.

You can find out more about Global Justice XML on the Justice Department's IT site, at it.ojp.gov.

Agencies that handle online transactions'procurement, supply chain management and so on'can benefit from another XML extension: Electronic Business XML.

EbXML is a modular suite of specifications, at www.ebxml.org, for enterprises of any size and in any geographic location that need to conduct business over the Internet. It defines common terms and business processes to standardize the exchange of business data and messages.

The United Nations was an early champion of the 5-year-old ebXML concept in hopes of streamlining national as well as international transactions. The governments of Finland and Norway already have implementations under way.

The General Services Administration has been working closely with the international Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards, which promotes such XML extensions. GSA has sent federal representatives to various XML and ebXML groups.

OASIS, at www.oasis-open.org, devotes a special link to ebXML for e-government business. Look for the e-gov link in the left column. The site emphasizes semantic interoperability.

The United Nations Centre for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business also promotes ebXML. See more at www.unece.org/cefact.

EbXML deserves serious consideration from any agency that plans to update its business systems. To read about the Defense Department's EMall implementation of ebXML, and enter 305 in the GCN.com GCN.com/search box.

And while you're surfing, check out two other data tagging efforts that might affect your agency's systems: TaxXML and LegalXML, at www.oasis-open.org.

Shawn P. McCarthy is senior analyst and program manager for government IT opportunities at IDC of Framingham, Mass. E-mail him at smccarthy@idc.com.

About the Author

Shawn McCarthy, a former writer for GCN, is senior analyst and program manager for government IT opportunities at IDC.

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