The National Subject Matter Index: Categorizing Information for Poverty Law
What is the National Subject Matter Index?
The National Subject Matter Index (NSMI) provides a centralized, comprehensive taxonomy of topics for the legal aid community by which documents and data can be indexed.
The NSMI is a powerful tool that makes it possible to share documents across web sites (because each site uses the same vocabulary) and to link between case management systems and statewide web sites based on topics defined by the index. It is currently in use on all statewide Web sites for managing content and is in use in some case management systems, as well.
The most recent version of the index may downloaded here.
In 2005-2006, the Legal Services XML Project conducted a study on the index and its implementation and viability. That study and its recommendations have helped shape the future of the Legal Services XML Project.
NSMI Index Tool
Keeping the NSMI up-to-date requires a coordinated effort to add new content codes as content coordinators for each statewide Web site need them. Without this coordination, statewide Web sites will not share the same codes, and won't be able to share information.
In the past, content coordinators couldn’t get new codes when they needed them and often their changes weren’t included in scheduled updates to the index. The NSMI Index Tool is a web application that allows content coordinators to request a code and have a new code assigned within a week. The index is updated periodically by the Legal Services XML group. Suggestions for updates may be made by logging into the NSMI Index Tool and completing a request through this form.