Statement of Requirements for Enhancing the ET.gov Site to More Fully Meet the Needs of the IPv6 Work Group & Other Communities of Practice, DRAFT †
In order to keep the bar to entry as low as possible, Stage 1 of the CIO Council’s emerging technology life-cycle management process currently encompasses only four required elements. Those elements are specified in the schema at http://et.gov/ETgovSchema.xsd and represented in more readily human-readable form at http://et.gov/component_info.aspx
Three of those required elements are indexed and available for searching, browsing, and sorting at http://et.gov/component_search.aspx
If submitters choose to do so, they may also provide information about the organizations with which they are affiliated. Those optional elements are represented in the form at http://et.gov/business_info.aspx, and if an organization name is provided, it is also available for sorting, browsing, and searching at http://et.gov/component_search.aspx The “business information” elements of the schema conform to those of the Central Contractor Registry (CCR) in the event it may be appropriate to share such data as ET components are demonstrated and proven, thus maturing and becoming candidates for acquisition from vendors registered in the CCR.
The lengths of the fields for the elements that are required and indexed on the ET.gov site are relatively short in order to prevent vendors from “spamming” the site with marketing materials. However, submitters can provide as much information as they wish in the required “Benefits to the Government” field, and such information is available via hypertext links to the source documents posted on the submitters’ own Web sites (or intermediary sites they choose to use).
No personally identifying or other sensitive data is stored on the ET.gov site. The documents registered for indexing must conform to the schema for Stage 1 of the ET.gov process and be available at a publicly accessible Web address (URL). While they are not reviewed for quality, submissions are reviewed for relevance and indexing will be denied to any containing information clearly inappropriate for indexing on the site. Since the source documents are posted on the public Web, they are also indexed by general purpose search engines, like Google and, to the degree they may be posted on .gov or .mil sites, they may also be indexed by FirstGov.
Thus, consistent with the citizen-centricity principle of the President’s Management Agenda (PMA), users are free to use whatever search service they prefer in order to discover and access such information. Unlike most so-called “one-stop” Web sites, the ET.gov site is the antithesis of a “stovepipe” information technology (IT) system. It is designed to facilitate the sharing of information on a widely distributed basis, rather than forcing anyone to know about the site, much less use it to find information about emerging technologies of interest to them.
The structure of the XML schema for the description of ET components and specifications enables far more powerful and precise searching than possible through general-purpose full-text search services. For example, i411 has developed a faceted search service prototype providing capabilities not available on the ET.gov site itself, much less via Google or FirstGov – including the capability to browse and search for components and specifications based upon the Federal Enterprise Architecture (FEA) Service Component Reference Model (SRM) and Technical Reference Model (TRM).
Similar services can easily be implemented to build specialized indices on any and all facets of the ET.gov schema. Interested service providers are not required to crawl the Web because a listing of the URLs for all of the registered ET component and specification descriptions is provided at http://www.et.gov/component_list.aspx
If a community of practice (CoP) has formed around any component or specification identified and indexed on the ET.gov site in Stage 1 of the process and the CoP is using a publicly accessible collaborative Web, a link will be provided at http://et.gov/stage2.htm if at least a few .gov or .mil employees are participating in collaboration on the site.
Whereas the purpose of Stage 1 is merely to facilitate the identification and, in turn, the discovery of emerging technology components and specifications, the purpose of Stage 2 is to facilitate the formation of CoPs around those of particular interest to .gov and .mil agencies. Resources have not yet been available to automate the process of identifying ET CoPs and collaborative Web sites, much less subscribing to those CoPs and sites, so the listing is currently maintained manually at http://et.gov/stage2.htm#cops
ET CoPs that appear to have sufficient resources to successfully demonstrate the practical utility and usability of the components or specifications around with they are collaborating will be promoted to Stage 3 of the process, in which the co-chairs of the CIOC’s Emerging Technology Subcommittee agree to accept “stewardship” of the CoP. CoPs achieving that status are listed at http://et.gov/stage3.htm#cops As with Stage 2, resources have not yet been available to automate the process of determining when to promote CoPs to Stage 3 or enabling the co-chairs or system administrators to do so. However, some of the potential criteria for promotion to Stage 3 are highlighted at http://et.gov/stage3.htm
Components and specifications whose practical utility and usability, including conformance to relevant voluntary consensus standards, have been proven become candidates for “graduation” in Stage 4 of the ET.gov process: http://et.gov/stage4.htm Upon graduation from the process, they become candidates for acquisition and use by agencies as well as cross-cutting Lines of Business (LOBs) and eGov projects. While no components or specifications have yet completed the process, it is reasonable to expect that any that do so must be appropriately mapped into the FEA TRM as a mandatory requirement for “graduation” from the ET.gov process and, eventually, for acquisition by any .gov or .mil agency, LOB, or eGov project.
In the early stages of the ET.gov process, use of the TRM elements is optional, but usage of those elements will facilitate discovery of proposed components and specifications, using services like i411’s. Although the TRM may be a bit of a mystery to vendors, getting the mappings right is not critical in the early stages. Perfecting the mappings into the FEA TRM and SRM, as well as the Data Reference Model (DRM) is part of the value to be added by CoPs forming around those components and specifications, i.e., to help make sense of them in terms of how they fit into the Federal enterprise as a single, logical entity in service to the American citizen.