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Announcing NIEM 4.0 release

NIEM version 4.0 and its associated products are now available for download and use. This release is the latest version of the NIEM common vocabulary, which enables efficient information exchange across diverse public and private organizations.

Access tooling that has been updated for 4.0:

Rome wasn’t built in a day—and neither was NIEM 4.0.

The NIEM Business Architecture Committee (NBAC) and the NIEM Technical Architecture Committee (NTAC) collaborated and worked closely with community subject matter experts and international partners to develop, review, and enhance reusable content in this model release. Over the last 10 months, there have been more than 25 model harmonization calls, 3,000 elements reviewed for updates, 24 NCCT issues resolved, and 3 rounds of reviews.

Since it was first created, NIEM has doubled in both the amount of content it provides and the number of domains that are represented.  Committee members, domain representatives, and community stakeholders have been vital to the continued growth and refinement of the model. As such, NIEM 4.0 is dedicated to those who have championed NIEM all these years as we embrace the future.

Internationalization of model content

NIEM 4.0 represents an initial step toward evolving NIEM to support a more global exchange environment. As part of the 4.0 development process, a dedicated team collaborated with several strategic international partners to identify information that should be added or updated within both NIEM Core and individual domains to meet their business needs.

Updates to NIEM Core include but not limited to:

  • The addition of content around public service, crisis, and financial account information
  • Updates of “Place” to expand terminology relating to addresses, regions, and borders
  • Information related to privacy of personal data under the terms of more stringent European data protection laws
  • Mapping international requirements like name information and Tax Identification Number to “Person”

“We live in an age where the words ‘information,’ ‘communication,’ and ‘technology’ are inseparable. These three words have created a global need for meaningful standardized data sharing. Maturing NIEM with internationally related content and data structures helps to address this need,” said Kamran Atri, NBAC co-chair and lead of the international effort.

Future releases of NIEM will continue progress toward internationalization and will tackle such topics as identifying US-centric definitions that could be replaced with more holistic definitions.

Other Key 4.0 Highlights

A new domain and refreshed domain content

  • Welcomed a new Agriculture domain, led by the U.S. Department of Agriculture
  • Integrated Children, Youth, and Family Services (CYFS) domain content into the Human Services domain (removing the CYFS namespace)
  • Updated several existing domains’ model content, including
    • Biometrics
    • Emergency Management
    • Human Services
    • Justice
    • Military Operations
    • Surface Transportation

Note: All domains have been changed, to some degree. The list above shows domains with additional changes beyond the regular updates to move to the 4.0 major release, apply harmonization changes, etc.

More flexible technical architecture

  • An updated NIEM Code Lists Specification (version 4.0) that supports code lists defined as CSV spreadsheets or Genericode XML documents. This allows the use of code lists defined outside XML Schemas, as well as supporting dynamic (run-time) identification of code lists, and a syntax for code lists that can support web service-based code validation.
  • Updated the Naming and Design Rules (NDR, version 4.0), including:
    • Support for linked data (LD) methodology, including a new structures:uri attribute, supporting cross-document and within-document references, as well as updating the NIEM conceptual model's use of RDF to align with linked data & JSON-LD.
    • Eased requirements on naming; allowed all legal ASCII characters in component names (now allowing hyphen, underscore, and period); lessened the requirements level on many naming rules from MUST to SHOULD, allowing for easier migration of community vocabularies to NIEM.
    • Support for the code lists; introduction of a new, flexible code type; consistent naming for code elements; allowing code types that are not based on XML Schema enumerations.
    • Allowing use of fixed required attributes in XSDs, allowing schemas to more precisely constrain messages.

Specific model content updates

  • Increased support for Geopolitical Entitles, Names, and Codes (GENC) country and state codes using the updated NIEM Code Lists Specification. A sample of how to use GENC and the new code lists specification has been provided in the README.
  • Added OrganizationLEIIdentification to nc:OrganizationType, to support the Legal Entity Identifier (LEI), an alpha-numeric code that uniquely identifies legally distinct entities that engage in financial transactions.
  • Revised Universal Transverse Mercator (UTM) and Military Grid Reference System (MRGS) location coordinate representatives.
  • Removed value restrictions on percentages (nc:PercentType) and merged local terminology and appinfo namespaces.
  • Merged nc:ContactInformationAssociationType with nc:ContactInformationType to simplify and support the common usage.
  • Created new types (nc: CountryType and nc:StateType) to support multiple country and state representations and improve reusability.
  • Included the generic entity representation into nc:EntityType, added the term “Abstract” for abstract elements, and incorporated additional entity representations.
  • Combined code sets in namespace core_misc into core.
  • Remodeled nc:MeasureType so various kinds of measurements are  now independent sub-types rather than alternate substitutions within a single type.
  • See the README or the change log for more changes.