Eliminating The Information Exchange Bottleneck

While standards and industry support groups have yet to establish one globally accepted IEPD methodology and documentation artifact set, notable and successful IEPD packages have been developed and implemented by exchange partners.


The Global Justice XML Data Model (GJXDM) was developed to enable federal, state and local justice and public safety agencies to exchange data in a common, replicable format. In the last several years, GJXDM has become the national, de facto data sharing standard. Law enforcement agencies at all levels of government now face an unintended consequence of this rapid adoption — significant implementation delays resulting from an inability to properly document and broadly distribute exchange design methodologies. Adoption of Information Exchange Packages (IEPs) and the accompanying artifact set, known as Information Exchange Package Documentation (IEPD), reduces the time and costs associated with exchange implementation and can eliminate exchange "bottlenecks."

In addition to Global Justice XML, the emergence of other vocabulary standards such as Emergency Data Exchange Language (EDXL), Court E-filing and the National Information Exchange Model (NIEM) now provide the fundamental building blocks for cross-agency and cross-domain information exchanges.

Various technology standardization organizations, including the Department of Justice's (DOJ's) Office of Justice Programs (OJP), IJIS Institute, National Consortium of Justice Information and Statistics (SEARCH), and Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS) are in the process of evaluating acceptable IEPD methodologies, but a definitive, published methodology has not yet been adopted.

Meanwhile, the justice and public safety community, facing increasing demands to share information with federal, state and local partners, is discovering that using GJXDM introduces a host of challenges. In an effort to normalize the manner that GJXDM is utilized, many agencies have taken the lead in developing IEPD methodologies to provide a simple, cost effective and consistent methodology to ensure information sharing stewardship.

While standards and industry support groups have yet to establish one globally accepted IEPD methodology and documentation artifact set, notable and successful IEPD packages have been developed and implemented by exchange partners. Pioneering state information exchange programs, such as the Ohio Local Law Enforcement Information Sharing Network (OLLESIN) and the New Jersey State Police (NJSP) Statewide Intelligence Management System (SIMS) Data Augmentation Project, immediately recognized the importance of the IEPD approach as the means to communicate with their local law enforcement agencies. Through their successes, as well as other regional projects, the benefits of employing an IEPD life cycle approach are being demonstrated and learned.

What is an IEPD?

An IEPD defines a specific information exchange and provides a structured set of information to completely define the information being exchanged, the business rules being enforced and the required GJXDM schema sets. Within the justice and public safety community, information exchanges are commonly associated with day-to-day processes and activities. For example, information exchanges exist for arrest warrant, citation, court filing, booking, etc.

At the working level, IEPDs contain collections of specific types of information called artifacts, which consist of normative exchange specifications, examples, metadata and documentation encapsulated by a catalog that describes each artifact. By convention, the entire package is archived as a single, compressed file. When uncompressed, the catalog contains a hyperlinked index into the IEPD and can be opened using standard Internet Web browsers. The hyperlink catalog provides a means to rapidly peruse the IEPD contents and open each individual artifact (provided the appropriate software required to open a given artifact is installed).

The guidelines for developing and organizing a GJXDM IEPD have been compiled and documented by the Office of Judicial Programs and are available at http://it.ojp.gov/topic.jsp?topic_id=196.

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