A lot of news is breaking for the National Information Exchange Model (NIEM) program that affects all of the agencies and organizations that have chosen to build information exchanges that conform to the NIEM. The news includes a major shift to make NIEM part of the OASIS standards development organization with an intent to make NIEM an international standard for defining information exchanges between domains and disciplines. Also, new additional domains including the first true international domain under stewardship from Canada have been announced. The following newsletter describes the details of these announcements.
NIEM to become an open, international standard
At the annual meeting of the NIEM steering committee, the decision was reached to transform the National Information Exchange Model (NIEM) into a formal, open, international standard for creating specific automated information exchanges within and across organizations and disciplines. The path to reaching this more broadly engaging status for NIEM will be through transferring the leadership of the NIEM program from federal government departments to the OASIS (Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards), a nonprofit, international consortium whose goal is to promote the adoption of product-independent standards for information formats. The U.S. Department of Defense, currently having responsibility for the management of NIEM, will guide the transfer of management responsibility to OASIS and will be the first sponsor of projects to create the new and formal standard.
OASIS is well known in the technology world for its well-developed processes for setting information and interoperability standards related to the introduction of XML and related frameworks. It manages an extensive set of processes for collaborative development of standards and their formal vetting with all stakeholders. According to Katherine Escobar, currently the managing director of the NIEM Management Office at DOD, this transfer of responsibility will keep the current practices and structure of stakeholder involvement in the development and sustainability of NIEM generally the same, but will add the more formal and extensive sponsorship aspects of OASIS to create a more robust and sustainable set of standards that agencies and companies can rely on for developing future interoperability standards. This new model will also create the kind of collaborative environment that technology companies and government agencies need to accelerate interoperability initiatives across boundaries.
A major feature of the OASIS management is that the OASIS open standards consortium has been accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) to develop and maintain American National Standards (ANS). Ratified OASIS Standards are eligible for ANS designation.
Over the next 12-18 months, the transition plans will be developed by the NIEM community in concert with the OASIS staff and leadership, to create a new charter, organization and principles for the care and sustained improvement of NIEM under the new structure.
There are many opportunities for SLTT agencies and companies to participate in the transition and in future exchange work using NIEM. To express your interest in participating, go to NIEM.gov and click on Contact Us.
NIEM expands domains, goes international
Many of the working domains that have committed to using the NIEM framework for the creation of specific information exchange standards have made extensive use of NIEM and continue to create new applications that benefit from the NIEM advantages of lower cost and faster time to production. With this track record, new domains continue to emerge that have potential uses and impact on SLTT agencies and companies that work in these spaces. There are 18 domains actively engaged in the use of NIEM, ranging from justice to biometrics, and the newer domain of cyber which is endeavoring to develop standards for sharing cyber incidents across agencies and domains. A statistics domain is in development, and the NIEM steering committee announced two new domains that will have the potential of helping SLTT agencies improve interoperability across jurisdictions and disciplines.
The Learning and Development domain is about creating new data components for the NIEM related to training and education, and fostering the design of information exchanges that facilitate the exchange of materials between agencies for many purposes of particular interest to the SLTT world.
Th International Human Services Domain is the first domain to be managed by a steward outside the U.S., as Canada has stepped up to take responsibility for this domain and to make it international in scope. This domain will concentrate on aspects of human services that will be more sharable for topics such as benefits and the delivery of services across agencies and even countries.
Both of these new domains, and others active in NIEM, are interested in having SLTT engagement and participation, and if you are interested in helping roll out these impactful domains go to NIEM.gov and click on Contact Us.
More and better NIEM Tools
- Release 5.2 of NIEM is in final release stages, with new data components in many domains and improvements in the way NIEM can use JSON instead of XML for the specification of exchange content.
- The new metamodel of NIEM that allows the creation of an ontology using OWL and RDF, making NIEM more useful in the application of knowledge graph technology and other forms of exchange, is nearing completion and will offer new modes of interoperability across many use cases.
- A new on-line, interactive training program will be rolled out in 2022 to support technology training associated with the new 5th generation of NIEM and its attributes.
*From the NIEM SLTT Tiger Team, an instrument of the NIEM Business Architecture Committee