Introduction for July 21 Presentation by Ipedo

Who We Are, What We Do

Brief description of MSPB’s mission, and the important documents it generates.

Reasons for Investigating XML (Problems with Current Electronic Architecture)

·         The MSPB’s electronic information is scattered among four document repositories—the LAN, the document management system (Docs Open), Lotus Notes, and the Board’s Website—plus our case management system, which is a relational database, and e‑Appeal, a web application for electronic filing. 

·         Many of the documents on the LAN can’t be meaningfully searched at all; the ability to search the rest is quite limited, and search techniques and syntax are different; only one repository can be searched at a time. 

·         As a result of the dispersal of electronic information, and the limitations on searching it, many employees are unaware that a lot of the agency’s electronic information even exists, and most employees are not adept at accessing and searching it. 

·         Much time is wasted copying Board documents from one electronic repository to another, and converting it from one format to another (typically Word to PDF and/or HTML).

·         We can’t be confident that our electronic documents will continue to be accessible in the future. 

Why we became interested in XML as a Solution

I’ve been reading about XML for several years, and thought it held great promise for legal and government documents.  But while the literature described the wonderful things you could do with data and documents that were in XML format, I was always left wondering how we’re going to get all our legacy documents, and the ones we continue to create, into XML format.  I got very interested when I became aware of software that could: 

(1)            Convert virtually any common electronic format into XML, while preserving the formatting and look of the original document;

(2)            Put the XML versions of the documents into a native XML database in which you can run sophisticated searches with an X‑Query compliant search engine;

(3)            Has several mechanisms for incorporating metadata from the source documents into the XML versions and can set search criteria based on that metadata;

(4)            Can easily output any of the documents in the XML database into any format that you need at a particular time, including PDF, word processing, and web page formats;

(5)            Keeping the XML database synchronized with the “legacy” framework; and

(6)            Allows users to run a full‑text search of one set of documents subject to a condition based on information in a second set of documents, or on information from a relational database.

The primary benefit of an XML solution at the MSPB:  For the first time ever, all of our agency’s electronic information would be readily and easily accessible from a single, user‑friendly interface.  A second major benefit is that we would have all of our critical electronic documents in a vendor-neutral, open standard that would be accessible for years to come.  A third benefit is that it would be easier to exchange documents and information with other federal agencies and the general public.

How employees could use Ipedo solution

From a single interface, Board employees would be able to do any of the following:

·         Easily find a particular document and read or print it. 

·         Browse through the contents of document collections, like a table of contents, and access whatever they want.

·         Do research, combining full-text search queries with field restrictions.  Field restrictions would include information from CMS, e‑Appeal, and other document collections.  Although today’s presentation focuses on legal documents, system would not be limited to those  Specialized search screens could be designed for each office or Board function.

·         Find and access a document for editing in its native application, e.g., Word.

What XML Working Group will see today

After describing its application in general terms, Ipedo is going to demonstrate some of its capabilities using several sets of example MSPB documents we provided.  Emphasize that this was a quick mock-up to demonstrate some of the capabilities of an XML system.  A completed application would be much more polished in appearance, and much more sophisticated in what it would be able to do.