NIST Seeks to Simplify Use of Its Bulky Publications

Robust Indexing of Content Among Solutions Studied National Institute of Standards and Technology special publications can be huge, and their hefty size can deter agencies from following the institute's guidance to safeguard IT systems and data. Toss a 200-plus page 800-series special publication on the desk of a CIO, a not-too-uncommon refrain goes, and he'll push it to the side without giving it a glance.

That's a problem recognized by NIST, and one it's addressing this year, says Curt Barker, chief of NIST's computer security division.

NIST documents generally provide a table of contents, but not an index, and that doesn't help the information security specialist find a specific control they seek to implement. "Tables of contents are little bit like the signs that you see in a grocery store telling you which aisle to look down," Barker says. "If someone is coming in with a little bit different frame of reference, it's not intuitively obvious to look for what you need."

Whether or not it's a search engine or some other form of technology-the final mechanism has yet to be determined-indexing will go beyond paper. "A paper index would be entirely too static," Barker said. "Content changes over time, and we need to be more agile than that."


About the Author

Eric Chabrow

Eric Chabrow

Retired Executive Editor, GovInfoSecurity

Chabrow, who retired at the end of 2017, hosted and produced the semi-weekly podcast ISMG Security Report and oversaw ISMG's GovInfoSecurity and InfoRiskToday. He's a veteran multimedia journalist who has covered information technology, government and business.




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