New information sharing model to debut soon

Agencies can remove obstacles to information sharing by adopting a revised information-sharing construct, said Michael Daconta, leader of a task force that is revising the data reference model portion of the federal enterprise architecture.

By Oct. 17, the task force will deliver to the CIO Council an updated data reference model for the structure, categorization and exchange of agency information. With it, agencies would be able to exchange predefined messages containing information for everyday needs, such as purchasing orders. Government analysts would then be able to access data for searches.

“I want to allow power users like analysts to ask any type of question that comes to their minds,” Daconta said, speaking today at FCW Events’ Enterprise Architecture conference and exhibition in Washington, D.C.

The National Information Exchange Model, a Homeland Security Department-led project slated for completion by June 2006, will showcase how the data reference model construct works for exchanging commonly used, predefined messages, Daconta said.

But analysts can’t be hamstrung by a limited set of predefined messages as the only means for interagency data exchange, Daconta added.

The task force is also proceeding with its proposal for a wide adoption of a hierarchical Extensible Markup Language schema for data categorization and exchange as a means for information sharing, although with caveats. The task force proposed in June for governmentwide adoption of its XML schema. But now it is now proposing to test the schema in volunteer government communities with newly emerging common interests.

Existing communities of interest with established XML schemas for data sharing will continue to use those, Daconta said. Established schemas must map to the three-tiered model of data context, data sharing and data description, which underpins the data reference model.

“You can have many different classification schema for a single set of data assets,” Daconta said.

About the Author

David Perera is a special contributor to Defense Systems.

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