XML consolidates government, McDonough says

XML consolidates government, McDonough says

The Extensible Markup Language has become a universal format, wrote Francis A. McDonough, deputy associate administrator of the General Services Administration, in a report released yesterday.

XML could make possible a new form of government that McDonough termed 'intergovernmental management, also called cross-government management.' He said XML is better and cheaper than central databases or their successors'distributed databases and middleware.

Governments can use XML to integrate applications, manage knowledge and speed collaboration, McDonough said, but he gave several caveats:

  • XML cannot solve all the problems of IT delivery and is useful mainly to unite multiple Web initiatives and multiple legacy repositories.

  • More XML standards and better security are needed.

  • XML investments will pay off only if they future-proof agencies against technology change and cut the costs of integrating, replicating and warehousing data.

  • Because XML data is unstructured and hierarchical, it should reside in native XML databases with pattern-recognition capability rather than in existing relational database management systems.

  • Senior managers need to avoid stovepiped XML structures and work to unify separate projects.

The report, with examples from federal, state and local, and international governments, appears on the Web at www.gsa.gov/Portal/content/pubs_content.jsp?contentOID=120147&contentType=1008&PMGZ=1.

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