OMG formulates records-management standard

Government working group pioneers cross-platform, data-sharing specification

The Object Management Group has blessed a specification for records management authored by its government domain working group as a potential standard.

The OMG board of directors is now verifying that supporting vendors are incorporating the Records Management Services specifications into their own products, the final step of the standards approval process, said working group co-chair Larry L. Johnson in an e-mail to the RMS community of practice mailing list. Johnson is head of the consultancy group TethersEnd, which has done work for the General Services Administration and the National Archives and Records Administration.

OMG's Government Domain Task Force authored the specification. This group was established to seek out ways of using OMG's Model-Driven Architecture to increase interoperability in government systems. The group's steering committee includes NARA IT specialist Robert Spangler, the Interior Department departmental records manager Edwin McCeney and the General Services Administration's chief enterprise architect George Thomas.

Agency record managers looking into establishing a formal system of managing records over their entire lifecycle (and across different platforms) may want to take a look at this proposed standard. While not making any definitions of what makes a record, the RMS specification provides a set of Extensible Markup Language-based tags that can be used to annotate a record in such a way that the pertinent information about the record will stay in tact as it moves across different record-management systems.

The material is encoded in a number of Web Service Description Language-based files. The standard provides an XML Schema Definition (XSD) for encapsulating a record's attributes and other pertinent metadata, which then can be subjected to XQuery-based searches.

The standards document points out this metadata about the records can be used to automate tasks, such as determining when a record should be deleted or moved to an archived system or to NARA, based on an agency's policy and the creation date affixed to the record itself, via the WSDL file.

The group has established a task force to finish the necessary work to get the standard to final, formal 1.0 status. This work may involve a number of interim beta stages, Johnson said. The group in encouraging input from outside parties for the refinement of RMS.

About the Author

Joab Jackson is the senior technology editor for Government Computer News.

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