Data Reference Model goes out for agency comment

The Office of Management and Budget on Friday released for agency comment the latest version of the Data Reference Model'the fifth and final piece to the Federal Enterprise Architecture.

The DRM will help promote common identification, use and appropriate sharing of data across the government in three areas:

  • Categorization

  • Exchange

  • Structure.

'Agencies that define and categorize their data using a common approach can identify IT applications that meet user requirements prior to proposing new IT investments,' OMB said in the draft. 'Agencies that exchange their data in a common structure increase the likelihood that other agencies can re-use the IT investment as a shared service within their own architectures.'

Agency CIOs and deputy CIOs received copies of the draft and are asked to comment by Dec. 3.

The DRM has been in the works for more than 18 months and has been widely considered the key to the FEA as well as the hardest model to develop. Its arrival also is months later than OMB expected. Karen Evans, OMB administrator for IT and e-government, said at a hearing in June that the model would be out by mid-to-late July.

Under the categorization of data, the DRM uses the Business Reference Model to classify the general purpose of the information.

Under the exchange of data, the model calls for a standard message structure that combines the category of data with the actual pieces of information that make up the transaction.

And finally, under the structure of data, the data element uses the International Standards Organization's 11179 standard to describe how the information is put together. For instance, the draft DRM said the data object could be a vaccine and the data property could be the weight, potency or name of the vaccine.

'Effective data management requires that agencies fully understand the use and purpose of the data they are managing,' the draft said. 'Furthermore, agencies can only manage the quality of their data if they can validate that its content and structure are accurate.'


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