Chief Information Officer

IC Technical Specifications

Multi Audience Collections


This IC enterprise data encoding specification defines XML elements and attributes, associated structures and relationships, mandatory and cardinality requirements, permissible values, and constraint rules for packaging specific types of electronic information resources that are tailored for select audiences and grouped together for exchange. Examples of this type of information resource may be something as familiar as a tearlined cable message, each tearline of which is tailored for a specific audience based on classification, or as complex as a packaging together of many customized variants of the same textual product for dissemination on JWICS.

The types of electronic information resources that can be packaged with MAT.XML currently includes: 1) textual information resources conformant with PUBS.XML, and 2) information resource metadata records conformant to IRM.XML. Textual information resources consist primarily of text supplemented by interspersed non-textual information. Examples include assessments, studies, estimates, compilations, reports, and other document-oriented information.

Compliance with this specification is measured against all aspects of the technical and documentary artifacts contained within the specification release package.

The IC Chief Information Officer maintains this specification via the Data Coordination Activity (DCA) and Common Metadata Standards Tiger Team (CMSTT).

Current Approved Version:
  • Multi Audience Collection (MAC.XML), Version 1 (14 Jan 13)  |  (Light Version)

Mission Requirements

This specification is designed to fulfill a number of requirements in support of the transformational efforts of the Intelligence Community. Many of these requirements are articulated in IC Directives 203, 206, 208, and 501, among others. These policies cover topics such as "write for maximum utility", "responsibility to provide", and "information sharing".

 Broad information sharing within the intelligence enterprise can be facilitated by the creation, identification, packaging, and sharing of information resources tailored by the producer to support different audiences (e.g., variants). This tailoring is commonly based on, among other things, characteristics of the information, such as classification or topical interest.

The creation of multiple classification variants (e.g., TOP SECRET, SECRET, and UNCLASSIFIED versions of the same intelligence product) and sharing of those variants across secure network channels allows a producer to communicate more information to intended and unintended consumers across the broader information sharing enterprise in a way that reliably protects classified information and intelligence sources and methods.

The existence of variants today is quite common across the intelligence enterprise. This is a routine practice in cable message traffic in which tearlines, delimited blocks of text, are used to capture each variant which are then separated (often manually) prior to delivery. Producers also routinely create intelligence product variants for their different customers, but these are typically created as different documents which are stored, managed, and delivered separately.

MAT introduces a packaging structure for these separately tagged variants that allows for the efficient exchange, if not also storage, of these related variants in a form that is bound and managed together. Binding the variants together reduces the confusion that exists today when a consumer searches the enterprise and finds multiple versions of the same product and cannot discern the relationship between the products; thereby leading to a possible source of circular intelligence reporting.

Additionally, if one producer packages and shares all of the versions of a product they have created in the form of a MAT on JWICS, then other producers and consumers would not only better appreciate what other variants exist and where they may have been shared, but they would also be able to share appropriate variants with other downstream consumers who are also supporting our intelligence mission.