Data Architecture

data-archSEARCH is undertaking a promising data architecture initiative in 2014 and beyond that aims to help create “order out of chaos” for the justice and public safety enterprise. 

The vision of this project is to develop a nationwide public safety and justice data architecture that will help move the nation’s justice and public safety agencies beyond a piecemeal approach to solving information challenges to a thoughtful, well-planned enterprise approach that uses national standards, best practices and data models. 

Data used in justice and public safety exists in a business context—it exists for a reason.  Information flows via processes like events (an arrest), query (criminal history background check), or request (a warrant). 

The architecture will depict  agency interactions (and the data being exchanged) in a way that—

  • Reflects all typical information exchanges between justice agencies and their partners
  • Conforms to principles of service-oriented architecture as outlined in the Global Reference Architecture, particularly service identification and design guidelines.
  • Promotes consistency in modeling data processes and flows.

What is data architecture?

Data architecture identifies the core information (or data) assets of the enterprise. It generally consists of a static view, which describes the semantics, structure, and ownership of information, and a dynamic view, which describes the flow of information among integration stakeholders.

We are doing this by creating a resource—a wiki site—that will help policy, executive and operational stakeholders develop enterprise information sharing architectures that align technology decisions with business objectives, national standards and best practices.  It will promote a standard way of establishing  and adopting an integration architecture—with the bottom-line goal of supporting better decision-making in the enterprise.

The content on the wiki will provide an organized framework to:

  • Identify the business problems to resolve (example: when a parolee is rearrested, inform his parole officer of the arrest)
  • Identify the entities and services involved in the problem
  • Identify the evidence-based practices that resolve the problem, and corresponding/supporting business process models and event metadata
  • Identify the national standards, best practices and other resources—such as service specifications, NIEM and IEPDs—that organizations can leverage when developing and implementing technical solutions.


SEARCH aims to have the wiki site set up in 2014, and populated with initial content.  The wiki is expected to continue to grow and evolve as data sharing architectures are developed for various business problems.  Check back—we plan to fill you in on project details as we move forward. 

This project is funded through a grant received from the National Institute of Justice (NIJ).