Ultimate Guide to Accessing HELP Files

December 5, 2021

Overview

We know that while many agencies and users run Nlets transactions, many are unaware of a tool that can help them run queries more efficiently and potentially yield better results.

Today, we will introduce you to the HELP File – a tool available to all Nlets users. The files assist users with running transactions by providing additional information about certain queries.

There are two types of HELP files:

  1. HELP files that deal with state or other member HELP records.

  2. HELP files that deal with general HELP records maintained by Nlets.

We will cover each type of file in more detail below.
 

1. State/Province/Federal Member Agency HELP Files

State/Province/Federal Member Agency HELP Files provide information on data specific to a particular state. For example, querying the California HELP File for Vehicle Registration Transactions would provide information on all California specific information pertaining to the query (instructions, guidelines, and/or notes).

To access a particular state’s HELP File, send an Administrative Message (AM) to a single destination address that designates your requested HELP record.
 

Format

To access a HELP File for a particular state, you’ll want to follow the destination format ‘ssfffHELP’.

The first two characters, ‘ss’, designate the specific state/province, the 3rd, 4th and 5th characters, ‘fff’, designate which HELP File you're looking for, and both are followed by the word HELP.

For example, to access the Vehicle Registrations HELP File in Arizona, you would send an AM message to AZLICHELP, where AZ is the specific state file, LIC defines the specific type of record and, finally, the word HELP.

Please note that while many queries are supported with HELP Files, it is not universal.
 

Canadian HELP Files

Several HELP files have been assigned to Canada to assist users in accessing their interface. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) supports many of the files that are accessible through the interface. There is a single HELP file for each of those.

 

Each province/territory in Canada also has the following HELP files for vehicle registration and driver's license information.

      xxLICHELP = one for each province/territory; 12 in all

      xxOLNHELP = one for each province/territory; 12 in all

 

(xx = Province/territory Identification Code.)


Requirements to Participate

Whether or not your state, province, or agency currently uses a HELP file, one is available to you via a reserved area on the Nlets system. You do not need to allocate space or do extensive program changes on your system to participate in the HELP program. To learn more about setting up a HELP File, contact the Nlets Service Center at servicecenter@nlets.org.

 

Maintenance

To maintain up-to-date information, each state/province should validate their HELP files annually to insure their relevance and accuracy. Otherwise, they risk a user querying their HELP File and receiving incorrect information about running the query that could be critical to an investigation.

It is also very beneficial to include several test records in your state’s HELP File that can be utilized to determine how your agency will respond to a record. Test records assist end-users and programmers utilize safe records for testing purposes.


2. Nlets HELP Records

Nlets has also developed several informational HELP records and made them available to all users. This type of HELP Files typically provide information on which states support a particular transaction. For example, the Nlets HELP File for Concealed Weapons Permit Information will contain information on which states do or do not share records.

You can see the list of available Nlets HELP Records below, along with the specific destination ORI required to access the information. We have also created an infographic that will help you create the appropriate destination ORI to find what you are looking for. You can download the infographic here.

 

Destination ORI 

 HELP Information Records

FNORIHELP

 Contains a list of the Federal codes that are converted to ORION Fed
 search codes in the ORION file.

NLBASHELP

 Contains a list of states providing a boat & snowmobile HELP file on
 Nlets and a test record available to other users over Nlets.

NLFLYHELP

 Contains information on how to submit a LEO Flying Armed message.

NLGUNHELP

 Contains a list of states that support inquires to their Concealed Carry
 of Weapon permit (CCW) files.

NLIMGHELP

 Contains information on destinations that support image comparison (facial/plate recognition) search requests.

NLLPRHELP

 Contains information on the License Plate Reader Program.

NLNOQHELP

 Contains a list of states that support name only driver license and
 vehicle registration inquires.

NLOLNHELP

 Contains a list of states providing automated driver license and HELP
 FILES over Nlets and a test record available to other users over
 Nlets. It should also indicate if state supports name only inquiries.

NLORIHELP

 Contains list of states that accept Nlets assigned "S".

NLPPCHELP

 Contains a list of states that support inquires to their parole, probation
 and corrections files.

NLSIRHELP

 Contains a list of states providing automated responses to IQ and/or
 FQ queries.

NLSONHELP

 Contains a list of states that support sex offender notifications.

NLSORHELP

 Contains a list of states that support inquiries to their sex offender
 registration file.

NLSWQHELP

 Contains a list of states that support inquiries on state warrants.

NLTSTHELP

 Contains a list of state test records.

NLWLQHELP

 Contains a list of states that support Wildlife Violation transactions.

NLWTHHELP

 Contains information on states that provide road/weather information
on an automated and non-automated basis.

 

Conclusion

We hope this information regarding HELP Files was useful. If you have additional questions regarding HELP Files, contact the Nlets Service Center at servicecenter@nlets.org or 800-528-4020.