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This glossary provides a convenient reference to the definition of terms
pertinent to NIEM gathered in one place from many sources.

The intent is to encompass, over time, the technical terms in all released
NIEM program and process documents to foster common understanding
by all NIEM participants. This list is completely informative.
Readers are free to extract and use definitions
pertinent to their needs.


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9/11 Commission Act of 2007

An act passed by Congress based on the report completed by the 9/11 Commission. This act empowers specific agencies and mission areas with the authority, responsibility, and procedures necessary for information sharing.​​

Accept and Publish

The IEPD is formally accepted by the reviewing authority, after resolving any issues, and the IEPD is published to an online repository. You should establish a review process for IEPDs within your organization if one currently does not exist. An established, effective review process will increase the consistency of IEPDs being developed. ​

Adoption Strategy

The strategy to adopt NIEM. This strategy varies among stakeholders.​

Agnostic Implementation

NIEM is valuable in that it does not require, nor dictate how agencies should implement their systems when using NIEM. Many diverse systems can leverage NIEM when exchanging information and there is no standard system requirement associated with NIEM.​

Analyze Requirements

The second phase of the IEPD Lifecycle. The purpose of the Analyze Requirements phase is to further elaborate the selected information exchange in order to understand and document the business context and data requirements. The deliverables for this phase are Business Requirements and Business Rules.​

Application Programming Interface (API)

Application Programming Interface


Develop clear and accurate design specifications for information exchanges and provide a technical foundation of development. Architects should have experience in understanding different business processes and how these processes are reflected in technology-related solutions. Individuals with prior experience in creating design specifications, specifically with the business processes and design specifications of information sharing, message and system integration, NIEM, and XML, will benefit in this role.​


Any tangible and potentially reusable documentation or output pertaining to an existing or potential information exchange​

Assemble and Document

The fifth phase of the IEPD Lifecycle. The purpose of the Assemble and Document phase is to prepare and package all required files for this IEPD into a single self-contained, self-documented, and portable archive file. The deliverables for this phase are IEPD Master Document, IEPD Catalog, IEPD Metadata, sample XML instances, and XML stylesheets.​


A NIEM construct that represents a relationship among two or more objects. A type, named for the kind of relationship it represents, links multiple objects under specific contexts and may contain properties that are characteristics of the relationship. This allows preservation of the object-oriented design principles of the data model, while allowing more granular specificity of meaning when two or more data objects are related​


Interactions between objects that portray structure​


A characteristic of an object whose value may be used to help distinguish one instance of an object from others​

Augmentation (or Type Augmentation)

A NIEM technique that enables the reuse of type extensions that occur within particular domains for use elsewhere. Type augmentation avoids the need to create new specialized entities and duplicate type extensions that could not have been reused. Instead, the technique simply supplements an existing type with a reusable set of properties required for a given context​

Authoritative Source

The organization or entity (in NIEM, often a domain or community of interest) that has taken ownership of and update responsibility for a particular IEPD or other exchange artifact including schemas, code lists, etc.​

Build and Validate

The fourth phase of the IEPD Lifecycle. The purpose of the Build and Validate phase is to create a set of exchange-specific NIEM-conformant XML schemas that form the data model created for the exchange. The deliverables for this phase are NIEM XML Schemas and the XML Wantlist.​

Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA)

​A part of the Department of Justice (DoJ)

Business Areas

See Lines of Business​

Business Component Library (BCL)

The concept of facilitating the creation and storage of reusable components for NIEM IEPD creation. Business Components typically consist of an aggregation of data components into a construct that serves a specific business need, such as assembling name and address elements to create a Home Address component. These components can then be reused, saving development time and costs and avoiding duplication of effort across NIEM implementations​

Business Contexts

A common frame of reference across business areas or domains allowing organizations to share information with specific goals or scenarios in mind​

Business Functions

The operations and procedures carried out to fulfill a business need or needs​

Business Information Exchange Component (BIEC)

A NIEM-conforming XML schema data component definition (for a type, element, attribute, or other XML construct) reused, subsetted, extended, and/or created from NIEM that meets a particular recurring business requirement for an enterprise.​

Business Model

A view of the business at any given point in time. The view can be from a process, data, event or resource perspective, and can be the past, present or future state of the business. Creating a business model is often one of the initial steps when exploring information sharing needs and potentials​

Business Need

Often used as a justification for decisions or actions in a business setting, the business need addresses those outcomes that would most assuredly achieve business success.​

Business Processes

Textual or graphical representation of the activities involved in an exchange, similar to a workflow.​

Business Requirements

A business driver for an information exchange that is primarily an operational or functional requirement.​

Business Rules

A specific qualification for data that refers to how it should be structured (field lengths, data constraints, etc.).​

Business Scenarios

Real‐world scenarios that are used to describe or justify a use case for a certain business model​


Defines numeric relationships between entities​

Catalog File

Describes all of the files and associated metadata within a domain update​


A process documenting that a verified and validated exchange package conforms to NIEM information exchange standards​
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