Paul Spencer is an active member of the OASIS Technical Committee, and developed the XML Schemas for EML and the means of customising the schemas for various types of elections. He also developed the customisations for UK public election pilots and for the online electoral registers (CORE) project.
The Coordinated Online Record of Electors (CORE) project allows access at a national level to electoral registration data that is gathered and maintained locally. This allows organisations that are allowed access to this data, such as political parties and credit reference agencies, to collect the data in a single format regardless of the IT system on which the original data is held. Similarly, when an election is called, election systems can receive data in a single format everywhere in the country.
The objectives of CORE are to:
Our main involvement in the project was to use the Election Markup Language (EML) customisation mechanism, which we had developed on behalf of OASIS, to tailor EML to this requirement. This was typical of many such projects we have undertaken, in that we were dealing with independent software vendors (ISVs) who are more used to competing than co-operating, and working with them and the Ministry to come up with a workable profile of EML for this application. As is often the case, the ISVs were not all familiar with XML, so we provided some training and advice during the project.
Because electoral registers are large datasets, we also conducted performance trials for parsing and validation of the XML messages, and wrote some papers recommending XML processing techniques that gave better performance than the "brute force" validation that many XML neophytes use.
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