SEARCH Publishes Four New Technical Briefs Offering Information Sharing Guidance, Models

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Continuing our practice of developing and providing information sharing resources and models to the justice community, SEARCH has published four new Technical Briefs:

SEARCH prepared and published these latest issues in our Technical Brief series under funding from the U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Assistance.

"These four publications contain information about issues that are frequently asked of SEARCH by criminal justice and public safety agencies facing information technology challenges," said Mr. Mark Perbix, Director of SEARCH Information Sharing Programs. "They address common, practical, and timely technology and process issues."

Using Principles of Service Management to Manage Justice Information Technology Services
"SEARCH is often asked by agencies to conduct information technology (IT) capability assessments to help them understand and evaluate their overall IT operations," noted Mr. Perbix.

This Technical Brief describes the methodology SEARCH uses to conduct these assessments and provides practitioners with a set of 10 templates to conduct their own assessments.

SEARCH employs many of the principles for service management found in the Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL). Practitioners can use this publication to guide them as they follow this methodology to evaluate their own IT environment and capabilities.

The following set of modifiable service catalog templates are provided as companion documents:
Service Description-Email doc
Service Description-File, Print, and Document Management doc
Service Description-Local Area Network doc
Service Description-Database Hosting doc
Service Description-Internet doc
Service Description-Criminal Justice Information System Interface doc
Service Description-Telephony doc
Service Description-Web Hosting doc
Service Description-Help Desk doc
Service Description-Application Development doc

The next three Technical Briefs address different aspects of following Global Justice Information Sharing Initiative standards.

"SEARCH is a strong supporter and advocate for information sharing following Global standards, and these new publications provide valuable information about how to use and apply these standards," said Mr.Perbix. "SEARCH is heavily involved in developing these standards and wants to demonstrate how to use them."

Global Reference Architecture Service Specification Development Workshops: A Primer for Facilitators explains the methodology and techniques that SEARCH uses when conducting information sharing requirements discovery activities with information sharing users. As the name suggests, this publication provides a step-by-step explanation of the activities and tools used to identify and capture information sharing requirements as part of the overall service specification development process. The best practice approach to service specification package development provided in this brief is based on the experience, expertise, and lessons learned from the Global Services Task Team.

The next two Technical Briefs provide detailed information about how to implement Global Reference Architecture (GRA)-conformant information exchanges using Open Source products and tools. The GRA is an information exchange solution designed to cut 80% of implementation time and costs for state and local justice agencies through reuse of established promising practices in IT architecture and design.

"Open Source products offer information exchange developers a robust suite of capabilities that meet GRA requirements, and developers can use these tools to develop information sharing solutions quickly and affordably," said Mr. Perbix. "SEARCH is working on several information sharing implementation projects using these tools, and the purpose of these Tech Briefs is to share the lessons learned from successfully using these tools to do so."

"SEARCH expects to develop more of these detailed 'how to' tech briefs as we learn more about the capabilities of the Open Source products used to implement information sharing in the justice environment," he added.

Using Java Tools to Implement the National Data Exchange (N-DEx) Information Exchange Package Documentation (IEPD) discusses the advantages and drawbacks for justice agencies of using three common approaches to develop the capability to build an N-DEx IEPD.

The Law Enforcement National Data Exchange (N-DEx) is the FBI's national repository of law enforcement incident and offender data; it has the ability to detect relationships between people, vehicles/property, location, and/or crime characteristics contained in these data. It supports investigative activities across jurisdictional boundaries—enhancing information sharing at all levels of government. But justice agencies must first develop an N-DEx Information Exchange Package Documentation (IEPD), which uses national models and standards to simplify the process to implement connectivity to N-DEx and enable cross-agency information sharing.

Using Open Source Infrastructure to Implement the Global Reference Architecture describes the technical architecture that SEARCH has used to implement information sharing solutions using Open Source products.

Organizations that implement the GRA must choose a technology infrastructure. This Technical Brief discusses one approach to developing a GRA-conformant information sharing infrastructure using open source components. These require no licensing costs, and provide a viable and cost-effective strategy for implementing the GRA.