Book Review: Data Interoperability Community of Interest Handbook

Data Interoperability Community of Interest Handbook by Michael M. Gorman  provides a road map for enterprises as they organize communities of interest for the purpose of achieving data interoperability. Written as a product of work sponsored by the U.S. Army, it reflects on that experience coupled with the author’s extensive background with the InterNational Committee for Information Technology Standards (INCITS) to develop a process for interoperability at both the micro and macro levels.

Modern enterprises are composed of many communities of interest. To interact most efficiently to achieve the goals of the enterprise requires a set of commonly agreed-upon procedures and systems that exchange semantically meaningful data. A data interoperability program establishes standards, which must harmonize across all subgroups’ systems to avoid and ameliorate the stovepipes so common to the stand-alone systems of the past. The information exchange data model, described in the book, is the cornerstone of a data interoperability program.

Shared policies and procedures are manifest in metadata; therefore, detailed exploration of how metadata relates to the interoperability of systems is relevant here. The metadata infrastructure, both objects and models, required to achieve this is described in terms both broad and deep. In the course of this discussion, ISO 11179 (Metadata Registries) is referred to as if the reader is already familiar with its contents. Later in the book, the same treatment is accorded to the ANSI SQL standard. No full citation is provided for either, nor is a list of references included. This is a serious omission in a book intended for general distribution.

For process, a discussion of business events benefits from the author’s long experience on INCITS committees. He details the minutiae of subgroup establishment through descriptions of work products, business functions, officer duties, process management, the functions of Interoperability Standards Development, subgroup establishment, and position descriptions for members of the data interoperability program.

The same exhaustive treatment is given to the documents that these groups produce. The projects and rules chapters round out the festival of bureaucracy celebrated in the latter part of this book. These topics, also, are covered (as John Zachman would say), “to an excruciating level of detail.”

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About Judith Newton

Judith is Principal of Ashton Computing and Management Services, LLC, a consulting firm specializing in web design and metadata development. She is currently the Senior Analyst for two metadata registry development projects.

She is a U.S. delegate to the International Standards Organization Subcommittee for Data Management and Interchange (ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 32), Working Group 2, Metadata, and author and editor of the ISO Standard on Metadata Registries: Naming and Identification Principles (ISO/IEC 11179-5) and the technical report Specification of Data Value Domains (ISO/IEC TR 15452).  She is editor of the technical report on Procedures for Achieving Metadata Registry Content Consistency: Data Elements (ISO/IEC PDTR 20943-1).

She is a member of ANSI INCITS L8, Metadata, which is U.S. TAG to SC 32/WG 2.  As Chair of the L8 Task Group for Technical Development, she led the technical development and consensus process to achieve completion of products at the national and International level.

Ms. Newton is a past member of the American National Standards Accredited Committee for Information Resource Dictionary System (X3H4). In 1992 she chaired the Task Group that Produced the Technical Report IRDS Support for Naming Convention Verification (ANSI X3/TR-11-92), addressing the feasibility of an automated naming tool for the IRDS.

Judith was employed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology 1979 to 2004. At NIST, her most recent project involved study of the synergy between XML registries and 11179-based metadata registries. Other projects have addressed enterprise data modeling, data repositories, and semantic interoperability. In a consultant capacity, she has advised several agencies and Federal committees on metadata usage, among them EPA, DoD (DISA), and Navy.

She has also served as president of the Data Administration Management Association (DAMA) National Capital Region Chapter (DAMA-NCR), from its founding in 1987 to 1990; and chaired the highly successful DAMA Symposia in 1988, 1989, 1990 and 2001. She continues to serve on the Executive Board of DAMA-NCR.  She served on the Program Committee for the DAMA-International/Metadata Symposium 2000, and the DAMA-NCR Symposium 2003.

From 1973 to 1979, she was employed by Navy Regional Data Automation Command (NARDAC), Washington, D.C. to develop and maintain the RAS STADES system, an early effort to manage standard data elements using a data element dictionary system.

She was the recipient of the 2001 InterNational Committee for Information Technology Standards (INCITS) Merit Award, and the 2005 DAMA-International Government Award.

She is a graduate of Temple University.

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