Florida courts. Cyber-security was covered in the session "How Hackers Get Into Computer Systems and What You Can Do to Stop Them."

The final piece of the discussion was the sharing of information within the courts and the justice system as a whole. The Global Justice XML Data Model (GJXDM) is being put forth as the standard wraparound language in which all states and localities will develop their electronic data projects. There is support to any entity attempting to develop within the standard, available at the GJXDM Knowledge Base and Help Desk .

The NCSC provides some of the help desk assistance at the second tier level, which involves specific domain problems. Tom Carlson, NCSC Internet and communications specialist, is one of the domain experts.

"GJXDM allows agencies to use a common language without having to individually negotiate how to do so," Carlson said of the value in using GJXDM. "It also works within and between counties, states and countries -- or even within a particular court."

Carlson taught a session on GJXDM titled "Technology Level Discussion GJXDM." Carlson is also the creator of a program called Wayfarer, which helps the average person understand the relationships between the various elements within the database.

"There is a lot of inheritance within GJXDM -- one element can contain other elements and it depends upon the element which other elements it can contain," Carlson explained. "For instance, a general activity element can contain an activity date. Citation derives from activity and inherits and activity date. Wayfarer will convert large XML schema and make it into a relational database, which will help a person understand how the elements relate. It is an exploration tool to help someone learn about the model. You can look up things; find the right element and where it sits in the vast hierarchy."

In his session, Carlson illustrated element attributes and relations through the use of two red hats, indicating two elements that shared some things, but not others. More information on the Wayfarer program can be found here.

Managing Cases

Case management is another topic covered at CTC9.

"The last couple of years, performance measures have become a major issue," Clarke said. "Funding sources want them [the courts] to justify their funding."

One case management solution presented was a program called LOVISA, currently used in the Norwegian District Courts and Courts of Appeal. Another session presented CourTools, a model set of court performance measurement systems offered by the NCSC.

As soon a people try to improve performance, they find that they can't economically collect the data," Clarke said. "CourTools provides a cheap and repeatable way."

A topic not directly related to efficiency, but still of great interest was court security. Presentations and vendor products touched upon both physical and cyber-security.

"I hope the participants have a broader sense of how technology can improve and support court processes -- that they have identified a network of peers that can provide feedback and suggestions," said Mary McQueen, president of the NCSC. "I hope they see technological innovations as opportunities and embrace their role as executive sponsors in technology projects -- that they don't fear technology projects or feel they need NASA-like skills to manage court technology projects."

More information on CTC9, including streaming video of presentations and highlights may be found at here.

Alison Sonntag  |  Special to Government Technology