Vendors' help sought for NIEM's next step

Technology integrators and commercial software providers are being asked for help as officials seek to expand the use of their common data standard to help information sharing.

National Information Exchange Model program managers will hold an industry day Feb. 17 to expand the program to new users. The Homeland Security Department announced the event through a draft request for information Jan. 15. It said officials were seeking “descriptions of products that have the potential to make the next generation of NIEM a reality.” The final RFI is expected by Feb. 27.

The program was launched in 2005 by the Homeland Security and Justice departments. Its users extend beyond homeland security and law enforcement, and officials want to expand adoption to a wide range of communities.

NIEM gives users a standard vocabulary, guidance and processes to make data flow more effectively across various levels of government. The framework defines data components -- such as people, places events and things -- and provides a method for communicating that data using Extensible Markup Language. To share information, officials use a packet that has the correct NIEM structure and semantics. The specifications for particular data exchanges are stored as Information Exchange Package Documentation.

Officials say more software tools are needed as organizations look to roll out addition NIEM-based information sharing programs. The draft RFI said that NIEM’s executive leadership believes that commercial software companies are best suited to provide the types of software tools to meet NIEM's needs.

Officials said a comprehensive set of offerings is needed for different stages of NIEM’s implementation and they want additional software tools that:

 

  • Can help develop the specifications for particular types of data exchanges.

 

  • Accelerate the implementation of NIEM data exchange specifications into a service-oriented architecture.

 

  • Verify that IEPDs conform to requirements.

 

  • Can manage large dictionaries of NIEM objects and allow them to be segmented by domain.

 

  • Provide a repository for IEPDs and develop specifications for federating registries.

 

Those interested in attending the Feb. 17 event must respond to NIEM-RFI@dhs.gov by Jan. 30. Questions on the draft RFI should also be sent to that address by Feb. 3.

About the Author

Ben Bain is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

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