Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Your help is needed to connect community resource lists

One of the greatest challenges associated with connecting electronic resource lists is the classification of services.   The group working on improving the city's 211 system is also tackling community list.   You're invited to join us in the initial conversation about the community taxonomy* August 3 from 1:00 - 3:00 pm at Bread for the City, 1525 7th St NW.   RSVP here.

Homework for the meeting is to review the Bread for the City resource directory taxonomy.   We know we won't make all decisions at this meeting, but it will be a good start.

At this meeting, we will also consider the fields that should be required before records go live in 211.   Participants in the 211 effort have expressed concern that some records have too little information to be useful to residents or providers wanting to refer clients to other organizations.   The Department of Human Services, the government lead on 211, is interested in hearing what recommendations the community has about which fields should be required in order for a record to be published.   Two documents to review before the meeting: 211 field names and 211 sample records list.

Background on the community taxonomy discussion
The city's 211 system uses a proprietary taxonomy system developed by LA211.   The LA211 system is incredibly detailed and designed to make categorization of services and supports easy.   The LA211 system also has annual costs.   You can see the system in action by going to Answers, Please!/211.   The community systems (see the list on Google Docs) use their own categories, tags, and keywords.   The folks who have been working on improving not only 211 but general access to more and better information about community resources agree that in order to connect the various systems (for example DC Food Finder and The BRIDGE Project), we need a common categorization system.

Have questions?   Feel free to email me.

*Taxonomy is defined as a classification system.   Practically, this means that the system starts with a broad category such as housing and moves to the specific such as subsidized housing for large families or subsidized housing for adults with disabilities.

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