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Conformance Test Architecture and Test Suite for ANSI/NIST-ITL 1-2011 NIEM XML Encoded Transactions



Fernando L. Podio, Dylan J. Yaga, Christofer J. McGinnis


The latest version of the ANSI/NIST-ITL standard was published in November 2011 (AN-2011). In addition to specifying Record Types in traditional encoding, the standard includes the specification of National Information Exchange Model (NIEM) Extensible Markup Language (XML) encoding and an associated schema. The Computer Security Division of NIST/ITL developed a Conformance Test Architecture (CTA) and Test Suite (CTS) called "BioCTS for AN-2011 NIEM XML" designed to test implementations of AN-2011 NIEM XML encoded transactions. Validating the XML files to a schema may indicate that the contained data is formatted correctly and individual values are within allowable ranges, assuming that the requirements for that data have been documented in the schema file. However, schemas are not designed to test the internal consistency of implementations (i.e., testing for a relationship between two elements or structures within a transaction). These shortcomings of XML schema files for use in conformance testing necessitate that schemas be used only as a component of a complete testing solution. This complete solution (the test tool) ensures test coverage of requirements through a combination of schema validation and conformance tests of the data in the XML files. This document discusses the test software design including the XML Data Structures used and Classes implemented. It addresses the testing phases and the format of the test results; as well as the user interface and key usability features implemented in this version of the test tool. Details are provided on a modified schema that was required to be used in the tool in order to fully perform tests for all the requirements specified in the AN-2011 standard. Future development steps including support for the new version of the ANSI/NIST-ITL standard under development are also discussed.
NIST Interagency/Internal Report (NISTIR) - 7957
Report Number


ANSI/NIST-ITL 1-2011, biometrics, conformance testing, conformance test architecture, CTA, CTS, BioCTS, conformance test suite, data interchange formats, encoding, NIEM XML


Podio, F. , Yaga, D. and McGinnis, C. (2013), Conformance Test Architecture and Test Suite for ANSI/NIST-ITL 1-2011 NIEM XML Encoded Transactions, NIST Interagency/Internal Report (NISTIR), National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, [online],, (Accessed June 23, 2024)


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Created September 17, 2013, Updated November 10, 2018