DOD will establish XML registry

The Defense Department has established a clearinghouse and registry for Extensible Markup Language components to get DOD's far-flung IT shops on the same page in their XML use.

The Defense Information Systems Agency will oversee the collection and reuse of XML components, Defense CIO John Stenbit and undersecretary Pete Aldridge noted in an April 22 memorandum.

The registry and clearinghouse will be the authoritative source for XML components used by DOD. 'All program managers that use XML as an interchange format must register XML components in accordance with procedures established by DISA,' the memo said.

Owen Ambur, co-chairman of the government's XML Working Group, established by the CIO Council to develop an XML registry of data elements and schemas, said the clearinghouse could reach beyond DOD. Once the department demonstrates the usefulness of its registry, the Office of Management and Budget should issue a governmentwide policy similar to the Defense policy, Ambur suggested.

By doing so, OMB could establish a permanent repository of XML data structures. 'I think it makes very good sense in the Defense Department,' Ambur said. 'Whether the same discipline could be applied on the civilian side of government is another question.'

Ambur said civilian agencies lack 'the order and discipline' and are not ready 'to deliver an operational registry' as easily as DOD.

Defense will compile the registry 'by identifying best practices, establishing partnerships with industry, public-interest groups and other governmental activities, and coordinating XML education and outreach,' the memo said.

According to a General Accounting Office report released last month, the lack of uniform, government-specific data structures could dim XML's promise of easily searchable, reusable content.

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