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Last modified: December 08, 2004
US Federal CIO Council XML Working Group

[December 01, 2000] "The US Chief Information Officers (CIO) Council was established by Executive Order 13011, Federal Information Technology, on July 16, 1996. A charter for the Council was adopted on February 20, 1997. The CIO Council serves as the principal interagency forum for improving practices in the design, modernization, use, sharing, and performance of Federal Government agency information resources. The Council's role includes developing recommendations for information technology management policies, procedures, and standards; identifying opportunities to share information resources; and assessing and addressing the needs of the Federal Government's IT workforce." Information is available via email request.

The CIO Council's Enterprise Interoperability and Emerging Information Technology Committee (EIEITC) has chartered the XML Working Group "in order to capitalize on the potential of XML more efficiently and effectively on a Government-wide basis. The purpose of the XMLWG is to accelerate, facilitate and catalyze the effective and appropriate implementation of XML technology in the information systems and planning of the Federal Government. Wherever possible, the Working Group will seek to achieve the highest impact from resources by building on initiatives and projects that are underway in the Federal Government, or elsewhere in the public or private sectors. The XMLWG will not take on continuing operational or policy responsibilities. The Working Group will focus on the highest-payoff opportunities for application of XML technologies, which now appear to be that: (1) XML offers a non-proprietary and inexpensive way to achieve a high degree of interoperability among heterogeneous systems; XML is especially well adapted to a networked environment where there is a requirement to work with a rapidly changing set of partner and customer systems with unknown and diverse architectures. (2) XML offers a non-proprietary and inexpensive way to promote reuse of data by providing a way to locate it (semantic search), and by providing a standard way to transform and move it between applications. Based upon XML's potential to "alleviate many of the interoperability problems associated with the sharing of data within and across organizations," the CIO Council XML Working Group has been tasked with four activities: (1) Identify pertinent standards and best practices; (2) Establish partnerships with industry and public interest groups; (3) Establish partnerships with governmental communities of interest; (4) Education and outreach." XML Working Group Co-chairs include Marion Royal (GSA, Office of Governmentwide Policy, +1 202-208-4643) and Owen Ambur (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, +1 703-358-2138).


  • CIO XML Working Group Web site

  • XML.GOV Portal "The purpose of this site is to facilitate the efficient and effective use of XML through cooperative efforts among government agencies, including partnerships with commercial and industrial organizations."

  • [August 2004] XML Developer's Guide. By Brian Hopkins. Version 1.1. 01-May-2002. 97 pages.

  • [March 24, 2003] "Taming Web Services. Emerging Technologies May Bring Order to XML-Based Integration." By John Moore. In Federal Computer Week (March 21, 2003). "In recent months, Web services have begun to sprout in the federal sector. Examples can be found at the Defense Information Systems Agency, the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Postal Service, among other government entities. And Web services may grow in popularity, especially since the Office of Management and Budget is encouraging agencies to use XML when developing their e-government projects. So far, so good. But something is missing from the Web services mix: structure. Yes, standards are in place, but developers may interpret them in different ways. The task of orchestrating multiple Web services is another difficulty. Web services management, in general, is a topic industry leaders have only recently begun to address. This state of affairs is fine for the current crop of relatively simple Web services, but problems arise when organizations pursue more sophisticated deployments. 'I think that Web services are ready for certain applications in the federal government,' said Brand Niemann, a computer scientist at the EPA and head of the CIO Council's XML Web Services Working Group. But he said it's a different story when it comes to applications that require high levels of security or are transaction- oriented. 'Agencies are not ready culturally, nor are we ready technically, to do all that,' he said...

  • [April 05, 2002]   US General Accounting Office Releases XML Interoperability Report.    A report on Electronic Government: Challenges to Effective Adoption of the Extensible Markup Language has been prepared by the United States General Accounting Office (GAO). The 73-page document GAO-02-327 is issued as a 'Report to the Chairman, Committee on Governmental Affairs, U.S. Senate (submitted to The Honorable Joseph I. Lieberman, Chairman, Committee on Governmental Affairs by David L. McClure, Director, Information Technology Management Issues). The report was written in response to a request which asked GAO to assess (1) the overall development status of XML standards to determine whether they are ready for governmentwide use, and (2) challenges faced by the federal government in optimizing its adoption of XML technology to promote broad information sharing and systems interoperability. A principal finding was that important XML business standards are still being created for identifying potential business partners, exchanging precise transaction protocol information, and executing legally binding transactions. Current challenges and pitfalls threatening interoperability are reported to include: (1) proliferation of redundant data definitions, vocabularies, and structures; (2) the potential for proprietary extensions to XML; (3) inadequate security mechanisms; (4) an inadequate governmentwide XML adoption strategy; (5) incomplete identification of federal agencies' requirements; (6) lack of a central XML registry; (7) immature enterprise architectures for XML implementation. Recommendations include creation of a new government-unique requirements specification, a project plan for transitioning the CIO Council's pilot XML registry effort into an operational governmentwide resource, and policies for effective use of the governmentwide XML registry. See also the "[HR-XML Response to 'Challenges to Effective Adoption of the Extensible Markup Language']", by Chuck Allen (Director, HR-XML Consortium, Inc.). [Full context]

  • [February 28, 2002] "E-Government Strategy. Implementing the President's Management Agenda for E-Government." Simplified Delivery of Services to Citizens. February 27, 2002. From: [US] Executive Office Of The President, Office Of Management And Budget (OMB). 37 pages. "... The E-Government Task Force found that the federal government could significantly improve customer service over the next 18 to 24 months by focusing on 23 high-payoff, government- wide initiatives that integrate agency operations and IT investments (subsequently, payroll processing was added as the 24th E-Government initiative). These initiatives could generate several billion dollars in savings by reducing operating inefficiencies, redundant spending and excessive paperwork The initiatives will provide service to citizens in minutes or hours, compared to today's standard of days or weeks Moreover, by leveraging IT spending across federal agencies, the initiatives will make available over $1 billion in savings from aligning redundant investments..." The 24 initiatives chosen represent a balance of initiatives and resources across the four key citizen groups (individuals, businesses, intergovernmental and internal) The initiatives will integrate dozens of overlapping agency E-Government projects that would have made worse the confusing array of federal Web sites Additionally, the 24 initiatives represent the priorities of the members of the President's Management Council, who can provide the key leadership support needed to overcome resistance to change. The Government to Business (G2B)initiatives will reduce burden on businesses by adopting processes that dramatically reduce redundant data collection, provide one-stop streamlined support for businesses, and enable digital communication with businesses using the language of E-business (XML)... Plans call for: (1) Integrated Human Resources HR Logical Data Model including metadata, extended markup language ( XML) tags, including proposal for standard Federal HR data [by 9/30/02]; (2) Complete XML or non EDI formats (schemas) for electronic filing of 94x tax products (businesses) [by 8/31/02]; (3) Complete Records Management and archival XML schema [by 2/28/03]. See also the press release. Reference from Walter R. Houser. [cache]

  • [March 01, 2002]   GSA's Government without Boundaries Project (GwoB) Publishes Draft XML Schemas.    A Parks and Recreation Subcommittee of the 'Government without Boundaries' (GwoB) project has published draft XML schemas with a corresponding taxonomy and data dictionary for park and recreation services. The General Services Administration's GwoB project is dedicated to the creation of a "virtual pool of government information and services available from all levels of government and accessible by all constituents to facilitate interoperability between parks and recreation sites and web enabled systems. The GWoB website provides general GWoB project information with hotlinks to each state participants' GWoB demonstration project. GSA will also post subcommittee products such as draft XML schemas for government and industry comment; it is to host information regarding other intergovernmental initiatives such as the Business Registry and Simplified Tax and Wage Reporting System (STAWRS)." The draft taxonomy for parks and recreation data defines the data entities and related attributes of interest; entities include Agency, ContactSponsor, Event, Facility, and Location. The corresponding XML schemas are available online in an interactive context that supports public review and annotation; the element specifications map to enumerated attributes for the data entities, as in the case of Event: EventName, EventDescription, StartDate, EndDate, StartTime, EndTime, AgeGroup, EventURL, EventEmail, RegistrationNeeded, EventADAAccess, EventFeeDescription, EventComments. These facilities (in pilot phase) support the ideals of a seamless GwoB initiative which means "constituents can obtain info and services across all levels of government for their purposes, and governments can identify and deliver integrated information and services to their constituents." [Full context]

  • [February 04, 2002]   US GSA Office of Intergovernmental Solutions Publishes Report on E-Government XML Applications.    A communiqué from Keith Thurston announces the publication of a special OIS newsletter featuring "XML Applications in Government." This special newsletter issue "explores how Federal, State, Local and International Governments are using XML to help facilitate development of 'Citizen-Centered E-Government'. The newsletter issue contains twenty-eight (28) articles from from governments around the world, academia, IT associations and business, and "provides an excellent introduction to the uses of XML by government agencies." OIS Newsletter Issue 11 is the latest in an "ongoing series of comprehensive newsletters which focus on 'Citizen-Centered E-government,' requiring a high degree of interoperability across agencies and jurisdictions in order to link the systems and applications that collect, process, and display government information. Article topics include: the AEC/XML DATA Model for Equipment Manufacturers; Department of the Navy XML Work Group; Office of Justice Programs XML Reconciliation Effort; SGML and XML at the Patent and Trademark Office; US Army Electronic Bid Solicitation system; Program Executive Office Interchange XML Initiative (PIXIT); EPA National Environmental Exchange Network and Central Data Exchange P2P system; National Institute of Justice XML Solution for Information Sharing, etc. The Office of Intergovernmental Solutions (OIS) under the US General Services Administration (GSA) seeks to facilitate the intergovernmental sharing of experiences and expertise in information and communications technology and public administration." [Full context]

  • [January 16, 2002]   U.S. Federal CIO Council XML Working Group Issues XML Developer's Guide.    An initial Draft Federal XML Developer's Guide has been published for review by the U.S. Federal CIO Council XML Working Group. The version .1 draft document represents "an early deliverable of the overall US federal strategy for employing XML, designed to assist government activities in developing XML implementations in the short term, while lessons learned are collected. It provides general development guidance for the many XML initiatives currently taking place within US Departments and Agencies while the Working Group is in the process of developing a long-term strategy for aligning XML implementations with government business needs. The XML Developer's Guide is an adaptation of the updated consensus draft produced by the US Department of the Navy (DON)." The guidelines address a broad range of design methodologies and development practices, including the use of recommended XML specifications, XML component conventions, creating XML component names from ISO 11179 data elements, constructing XML component names, XML schema design, recommended schema development methodology, use of XML attributes and/versus elements, creating application specific metadata, document versioning, use of ebXML and UN/CEFACT specifications, and use of the US Federal XML registry. [Draft Federal XML Developer's Guide - April 2002, cache]

  • [January 23, 2002] Note from Mark Crawford (Logistics Management Institute) re: "Draft US Gov't XML Developer's Guide"
  • [November 7, 2001] XML Working Group Strategic Planning Session. "A Session to develop cohesive federal strategic plan for XML implementation... Each Federal Agency is encouraged to identify a single XML lead for attendance who can speak on behalf of the agency and function as the liaison with the XML working group as the plan moves forward..." Meeting date: 16-November-2001.
  • [February 06, 2001] " - Call for Participation and Enhancement Suggestions." Letter from Enterprise Interoperability and Emerging Information Technology Committee (EIEITC) to CIO. January 19, 2001. "Following a period of prototyping, the site has now been activated at Please make your staff aware of the site and encourage them to become active participants in helping to develop and improve its design and content. The longer-term objective is not only to provide a comprehensive and authoritative reference for government-related XML activities but also a collaborative work space to support those activities... The XML Working Group will be issuing an RFP for the second generation, embracing the principles outlined in Raines' Rules. One of the features contemplated for future implementation is an ISO/IEC Standard 11179 compliant registry/repository of inherently governmental XML data elements, DTDs, and schemas. If such a repository is established, it may be used on a pilot basis to register the data elements (fields) represented on Standard and Optional Forms (SFs & OFs), with the longer-term objective of integrating the registry into the information burden reduction process mandated by the Paperwork Reduction Act... Questions, comments, and especially enhancement suggestions should be conveyed to the Working Group's co-chairs, Owen Ambur of the Department of the Interior ( and/or Marion Royal of GSA's Office of Governmentwide Policy (" [cache]

  • CIO Council Enterprise Interoperability and Emerging Information Technology (EIEIT) Committee Charter: XML Working Group (XMLWG). July 10, 2000. Also available in PDF format. [cache PDF, HTML]

  • Recommendations of the ad-hoc XML Working Group to the CIO Council's EIEIT Committee. May 18, 2000. Also available in PDF format. [cache PDF, HTML]

  • [August 13, 2001]   XML.HOUSE.GOV Web Site Hosts XML DTDs for United States Congress.    A new web site 'XML.HOUSE.GOV' for XML and Legislative Documents has been opened to the public, providing a number of XML DTDs for bills, resolutions, house membership, etc. The purpose of the new web site is "to provide information related to the ongoing work of the U.S. House of Representatives in relation to the Extensible Markup Language (XML). Under the direction of the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration and the House Committee on Administration, the Secretary of the Senate and the Clerk of the House have worked together with the Library of Congress and the Government Printing Office to create Document Type Definition files (DTDs) for use in the creation of legislative documents using XML. The DTDs may be redistributed and/or modified freely provided that any derivative works bear some notice that they are derived from it, and any modified versions bear some notice that they have been modified. As this is an ongoing project, it is important to note that the DTDs presented on the web site have not been finalized, and may change over time; any documents or programs created with these DTDs should be treated as beta material and not used in a production capacity. A date has not been set for producing legislative material with XML." [Full context]

  • [August 16, 2001] "House to Sweep Floor with XML." By Susan M. Menke. In Government Computer News (August 16, 2001). "The House of Representatives this week released drafts of 110 Extensible Markup Language document type definitions for all its legislative activities. The DTDs are in the public domain and cover categories ranging from bills and resolutions to deletions and anomalous document structures. No date has been set, however, for starting to format congressional materials in XML format, which would make searching and reusing the volumes of legislative output much easier. Current searches at are limited to bill numbers and key words. The congressional DTDs define the elements and relationships in what a legislative body produces, as distinct from, say, DTDs that already exist for the automotive, banking, telecommunications and other industries..."

  • [March 20, 2001]   US Conference on Congressional Organizations' Application of XML.    A posting from Owen Ambur (Co-Chair, Federal CIO Council XML Working Group) announces a conference on the use of XML by the US Legislative Branch. This Conference on Congressional Organizations' Application of XML (COAX) is co-sponsored by the LegalXML consortium and the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on House Administration, and will be held on Tuesday April 24, 2001 at the Longworth House Office Building Washington, DC. "The purpose of the conference is to discuss the current use of XML by the legislative branch and the advantages of using of open and standard XML. Congressional organizations, federal agencies, private sector, and non-profit organizations will participate in the conference. The conference will have three panels. Panelists in the first session discussing current XML initiatives are to include representatives from the Library of Congress's Congressional Research Service and the Law Library (GLIN), the Clerk of the House, the Government Printing Office, Office of Legislative Counsel, the Senate, and the House Information Resources. A web site will highlight the activities of the COAX conference and the initiatives currently underway in each of the stakeholder organizations." [Full context]

  • [August 08, 2001] "Federal Tag Standards for Extensible Markup Language." Logistics Management Institute (LMI) Report. By Mark R. Crawford, Donald F. Egan, and Angela Jackson. Report GS018T1. June 2001. 76 pages. "The General Services Administration (GSA) tasked the Logistics Management Institute (LMI) to review different XML tag dictionary initiatives to determine if the federal government can adopt a single standard for establishing XML tags. To establish an initial focus to this effort, GSA nominated the XML tags of a set of widely used federal forms as a pool of data elements to study. These forms included several grant forms and a set of XML tags that had already been built for an electronic federal grant application. GSA also asked us to include tags developed by RosettaNet for ordering products. In addition to establishing an approach, we were tasked to develop preliminary strategies for standardizing XML and data elements beyond simply assigning tags. Issues that have arisen from this analysis are (1) the actual naming of data elements or fields, (2) general or specific names for data elements or fields, (3) rules for structuring the data elements or fields, and (4) the establishing of limits to the length of a data element or field name. The data set of elements that resulted from even this relatively small sample size was very large -- more than 8,000. To bring the number down to a more manageable limit, we focused on several widely used data elements, such as name, organization, and dates. This group of data elements was not only the most common but also often the most complex. In reviewing the data set, we found that, although all the industry groups were following similar paths, they diverged in detail. Most of these efforts also are in their initial stages. Currently, RosettaNet is the most fully developed. The ebXML endeavor, although important because it is the only initiative with the formal backing of a neutral, internationally recognized standards body, probably has made the least progress toward a completed dictionary. However, ebXML has established a coherent set of design rules derived from International Organization for Standardization (ISO) standards for data dictionaries. One other issue quickly became evident: the federal forms GSA provided indicate that the government has immediate areas of interests (e.g., personnel management and grants) currently ignored by industry efforts. For these reasons, we believe that the federal government should -- in conjunction with the soon-to-be-finalized ebXML core-component technical specifications -- establish a set of rules and specific tags that will meet its needs, and that these closely align to what is present in industry. We also believe that establishing a set of XML tags is only an initial step. Many new requirements will emerge and many of them will be unique to the government. An ongoing mechanism is necessary to meet these new requirements. Further, tags are only the tip of the component-standards iceberg. Document type definitions (DTDs) and Schemas are the means for defining an XML business transaction (roughly equivalent to an EDI transaction set); the government also will need to participate in creating them as well..." [cache]

  • [February 09, 2001] " Goes Live." By Susan M. Menke. In Government Computer News (February 05, 2001). "The Chief Information Officers Council last month brought its prototype site for Extensible Markup Language users online at The site will serve as a clearinghouse for federal XML activities as well as a collaborative workspace. XML tags make digital documents easier to search and repurpose than Hypertext Markup Language tagging does. The council asked federal CIOs to register their agencies' XML initiatives on a questionnaire at the site. It particularly encouraged reporting projects in human resources and records management, directory services, electronic forms, financial and performance reporting, and energy and environmental matters. The council's XML Working Group plans a second generation of the site that will integrate a registry of government-oriented XML data elements and document type definitions into paperwork reduction processes. The working group's next meeting is Feb. 14. More information appears at"

  • [December 01, 2000] "CIO Council Readies XML Portal." By Colleen O'Hara. In Federal Computer Week (December 01, 2000). "A CIO Council working group plans to launch a portal in January to promote and coordinate the use of a technology that can help agencies share data more easily. The Council's Extensible Markup Language Working Group is putting the finishing touches on -- a portal that will serve as a resource and demonstration site for XML technology. A prototype of the portal exists now, and the group hopes to take the site live in January. 'We hope that will be the focal point for all government agencies to go to learn XML and to experience XML, and share XML experiences,' said Marion Royal, an agency expert at the General Services Administration and co-chairwoman of the XML Working Group. The XML specification makes it simpler for applications to exchange information by defining a common method of identifying and packaging data. However, interoperability is easier if agencies can agree on common definitions. The site eventually may host an online registry that contains XML definitions used by agencies, Royal said."

  • XML Working Group Registry entry.

  • XML Working Group mailing list: address at To subsribe, send email to with 'subscribe xmlwg [firstname] [lastname]'. Also (private?) mail list archives

  • Federal CIO Council XML Working Group. Meeting Minutes, October 18, 2000. [cache]

  • Federal CIO Council XML WG. Meeting Minutes September 20, 2000. [cache]

  • Memorandum to CIOs on XML Working Group September 25, 2000. "... The Working Group has established a listserv and, in cooperation with the National Institutes on Standards and Technology (NIST), will be developing an evolving strategic plan and set of associated tasks at In addition, monthly meetings will be held to hear informative presentations and engage in face-to-face (F2F) discussions on topics of common interest..." Also available in PDF format. [cache PDF, HTML]

  • Enterprise Interoperability documents

  • [December 01, 2000] "CIO Council working group will develop a federal XML guide." By Christopher J. Dorobek. In Government Computer News (August 14, 2000). "... The CIO Council's Enterprise Interoperability and Emerging Information Technology Committee formed the XML Working Group to guide agencies on the most advantageous course of action for XML use. Effective XML standards could increase interoperability, said Mary Mitchell, deputy associate administrator for electronic commerce in the General Services Administration's Office of Governmentwide Policy. XML can link legacy systems and facilitate back-end integration, she said. The language could help replace custom, fragile, error-prone and expensive data exchanges, Mitchell said. The government has been adopting industry standards to ensure interoperability, Mitchell said. GSA and the National Institute of Standards and Technology educate agencies about such standards. One task for the work group will be to illustrate the proper use of XML technology to fulfill specific business needs, Mitchell said. Many projects already use XML. The Security and Exchange Commission's Electronic Data Gathering, Analysis and Retrieval system uses XML to deliver refined searches of SEC filings, Mitchell said. GSA Advantage is also implementing XML to process specifications for catalog information from suppliers and to manage order processing, she said."

  • "Federal CIO Council XML Working Group". Report in 'DOD XML-Related Efforts'

  • "eXtensible Markup Language (XML): Greek, Esperanto, Panacea or Snake Oil?" By Owen Ambur (Division of Information Resources Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of the Interior). June 9, 2000. "... The domain has been reserved for use by the CIO Council's XML Working Group. Ideally, it would become a portal site for information on and demonstration of government-related XML activities at all levels of government - Federal, State, and local - as well as internationally..."

  • "XML in a Nutshell."

  • "The XML Factor."

  • Federal CIO Council XML Working Group web site - Alternate URL ''

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