The Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA)—in response to recommendations from the Global Justice Information Sharing Initiative (Global), a Federal Advisory Committee (FAC) to the U.S. Attorney General on justice information sharing, together with support from the Global Standards Council (GSC)—is pleased to announce that the following Global standards have been released and are available for download.  

Global has approved for release the Entity Resolution and Merge Notification information exchange reference services. When used in conjunction with one another, these two companion services are expected to assist investigators in building a complete entity—e.g., person, place, item, location—profile based on entity records from multiple justice systems and will provide investigators with additional information that could lead to criminal apprehension. Law enforcement support systems (e.g., federated query or link analysis applications) will use these services whenever they need to determine (at some probability) whether two entities are the same based on similar attributes within a record. These reference services are based on the success of real-world implementation of the same through the Open Justice Broker Consortium (OJBC). 

The OJBC is a membership organization of state, local, and tribal government entities. The members cooperatively evolve and govern a set of tools to facilitate information sharing and automate business processes. Among many other information sharing capabilities, the OJBC has built a federated query portal in which practitioners can access information from a wide range of member partner agencies’ systems. The OJBC federated query currently provides access to many kinds of information, including criminal history records, bench warrants, incidents, and firearm registrations. A core characteristic of the federated query is the ability to perform entity resolution across all search results. Technically speaking, the entity resolution capability calculates metadata about the pairwise comparison of all records—if entity resolution determines that two records are similar enough to likely represent the same entity, the metadata will indicate such. The OJBC portal then uses this metadata (included in the XML response message) to present the search results to the end user, which allows the user to understand the likelihood that multiple search results actually represent the same real-world entity (person, vehicle, etc.). This is all made possible through implementation of the Entity Resolution and Merge Notification services. The OJBC federated query uses foundational national justice information sharing standards, such as those developed under the auspices of the Global Reference Architecture (GRA) and the National Information Exchange Model (NIEM). This helps make the implementation extensible, meaning it is straightforward to add new systems to the federated query—and it is easy to reuse this solution in new environments. This federated query enhances public safety by revolutionizing the investigative process by ensuring that reliable and up-to-date information which supports critical decision making is made available in a single, secure location. The Entity Resolution and Merge Notification services and the OJBC federated query capability have been implemented in both Hawaii and Vermont.  The Entity Resolution and Merge Notification services along with all of the Global information sharing standards, deliverables, and tools for the justice community can be found through the Global Information Sharing Toolkit (GIST). 


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