We have been focused for decades on improving information sharing about case, offender, and event information, mostly in structured databases, and there is no question that we must improve our ability to automate information sharing among the police, prosecutors, courts, and corrections. Together, with a high degree of attention on this topic, and with the development of standards such as the National Information Exchange Model (NIEM
), we are indeed making progress. But there is a lot more information that should be shared from unstructured sources. Before she was appointed by President Obama to be Director of the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA
), a component of the Office of Justice Programs (OJP
), U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ
), Denise O’Donnell served as the Commissioner of the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services, and, in that capacity, she approved a grant of BJA
funds for a little exploratory project to create a place on the Internet where prosecutors could share information on strategies and cases of wide interest. What ultimately emerged from this modest beginning is now the Prosecutors Encyclopedia (PE), a national repository and sharing vehicle with 4.7 million pages of highly searchable information. PE
, as it has come to be called, contains a plethora of useful information for helping prosecutors prepare for and execute a strategy for major cases. It includes links to federal and state case law since 1970, case strategies for complex and difficult cases, reams of transcripts and video testimony of expert witnesses in such cases, learning opportunities, and even a national directory of prosecutors and expert witnesses.