ODNI issues new metadata standards

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence issued three new metadata standards to improve and simplify the marking and handling of information.

Dale Meyerrose, associate director of national intelligence and chief information officer at ODNI, signed the documents Dec. 11. They became effective that day.

These standards are a part of a broader attempt by Meyerrose and Defense Department Chief Information Officer John Grimes to make information more usable across the intelligence community. Meyerrose, who spoke at a lunch sponsored by the Industry Advisory Council last September, said he has signed memos since June 2007 that focus on creating a data dictionary that deals with security level labeling and one that creates a central repository for intelligence information.

ODNI and DOD also are in the final stages of finalizing the information technology security certification and accreditation policy for both agencies. Meyerrose said at the IAC event that he had hoped it would be finished by Dec. 31, but an ODNI spokeswoman recently confirmed that the policy is still under review.

“My goal is to improve collaboration,” Meyerrose said at the event. “Another aspect is how well we collaborate with others charged with the business of intelligence.”

The metadata standards are one piece to the collaboration puzzle. All three data standards will use the Dublin Core Metadata Initiative, and the implementation profiles are specific to file formats such as Extensible Markup Language or HTML.

In the first standard for information-security marking, Meyerrose detailed three conceptual elements for overall security markings. These include the resource security, resource classification declassification and portion security marks.

The standard also outlines 19 conceptual element refinements that provide a second level of detail associated with security markings.

“The definitions provide qualifiers, usage and encoding schemes,” the standard states. “Additionally, a number of element definitions imply a controlled vocabulary for the respective element values.”

The second standard is for information resource metadata, which should be applied to “information products, information standards, content management, service transactions and discovery applications.”

Meyerrose outlined 16 conceptual elements that help define a controlled vocabulary and convey a semantic understanding. These include contributor, coverage, create, date, description and others.

The final standard is for publication metadata, which will be applied to information products such as publications, Web pages and reports.

Meyerrose specified three structures: publication, section and narrative. Each provides the basis for “capturing content and security markings internal to information products. This standard is essential to the successful implementation of a wide range of advanced automated tools that will help find, organize, analyze and manage information products.”

Under each section, the standard details the elements that represent the common organizational structure. These include analysis, appendix, bibliography, key findings, scope, assertion, note, paragraph, source citation and many others.

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