Data integrity is essential to all parts of the justice process. But what happens when “domestic violence” is defined differently from one jurisdiction to the next? What happens when even something as seemingly straightforward as a “trial” might mean something different from one place to another? How can courts accurately capture, share, and use data when the data points may have inconsistent meanings?
That’s where the National Center for State Courts’ (NCSC) National Open Data Standards (NODS) initiative can help. Setting national data standards means creating rules around the ways data are defined and recorded. Anyone adopting the national standards would share a set of common definitions and technical standards around data collection and sharing.
The Goals of NODS
According to the NCSC’s website, the goals of NODS are:
- To make case-level state court data available to researchers, policymakers, the media, and the public to provide for transparency in court operations and to improve public policy;
- To make data available for public and court system use in a consistent manner that reduces the possibility of error and misinterpretation; and
- To reduce the burden on court system staff in responding to data requests.
At equivant, we wholeheartedly support NODS, not only in theory, but also in practice. We think it’s a great idea, and we’re building our technology solutions to support these standards. For JWorks users, this means that when your state, jurisdiction, or court works with the NCSC to adopt NODS, you will already have the technology to support both the naming conventions/definitions and the technical standards that define the data structure, variable formats, and values.
We live and breathe data, and as former practitioners who are working closely with courts every day, we understand the struggle to maintain quality data. We actively contributed to the NODS project and participated in the development of these standards because we’re confident NODS can be a breath of fresh air for those who have been entrenched in the data quality struggle for too long.
If you’re starting to implement NODS, we can help. If data integrity is a challenge but you’re not in a position to implement NODS, we can help with that too. We’re your data partner no matter where you are on your journey. Let’s work together to make justice data better.