It's time to implement NODS...

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Time to implement NODS

National Open Court Data Standards (NODS) is a NCSC-driven initiative to enable state courts to map their data to national standards so the data can be used more effectively. The effort has produced a set of definitions to allow courts to share data in a consistent way, whether they're in Savannah or Seattle. Right now, that can't happen because state courts often define seemingly clear-cut terms, such as domestic violence and trials, differently.

The NODS project has been endorsed by the Conference of State Court Administrators and the National Association for Court Management, and now it’s time to implement it. NCSC recently received a grant from the State Justice Institute to do two things this year and next:

  • Form a steering committee to get input from internal and external court users; and
  • Work with eight states, beginning with Pennsylvania, Georgia and Texas, to help them implement the data standards.

The implementation work involves providing intensive technical assistance to the states, a complex undertaking given the wide range of courts and case management systems. The goal is to help courts assess their needs, develop strategic plans for NODS adoption, map data to the standards and then build programming to implement them.

NCSC will apply this knowledge to develop implementation case studies, and create and improve NODS user guides, all of which will be available on the NODS website.

Implementing NODS nationwide will:

  • Make case-level court data available to researchers, policymakers, the media and the public to improve public policy and provide for transparency;
  • Reduce the burden on court workers who respond to data requests; and
  • Make data available in a consistent manner that reduces the possibility of error and misinterpretation.

“Courts receive many data requests each year, and this puts a significant burden on them,” said NCSC researcher Diane Robinson, who is overseeing NODS implementation efforts. “With NODS, we hope to help courts define and create standardized data sets to respond to these requests more efficiently. Our goal is to increase public trust and confidence in the judiciary by making court data more transparent and consistent.

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