Assumptions and Hypotheses


These are a set of stated assumptions that gird this initiative. We will test them.

  • It is possible to establish interoperability between AIRS / 2-1-1 standards (both schema and taxonomy) and new standards such as the W3C civic services schema.
  • Adoption of open data standards is a necessary step towards making community resource directory data freely accessible and reliable for the many ways in which it’s needed.
  • Data standards can help spur innovation of new tools, partnership strategies and business models – lowering the cost of development, promoting sustainability, and bolstering a community of practice that builds capacity and generates knowledge throughout the field.
  • The production of open community resource directory data can be made sustainable through equitable business models that serve the public good.
  • Communities already have most, if not all, of the resources they need to sustainably produce reliable open data. However, these resources are currently trapped in redundant, competing data silos; it will require both technological development and partnership development to break down those silos.
  • The cost of maintaining up-to-date resource data can be lowered by opening systems to receive input from users.
  • The cost of data maintenance will not drop to zero even in standardized open infrastructural systems; some designated steward(s) of the data will remain necessary to ensure reliability and accountability.
  • Local stakeholders can play a leading role in researching, proposing, and implementing plans to achieve that sustainability.


These are the hypotheses that guide our work – we seek to validate them.

  • We can develop a web-based exchange format that is broadly applicable (covers most of the critical information in most of the cases), usable by various stakeholders in various contexts (reasonable to adopt), and interoperable with other standards (such as the AIRS XSD, W3C civic services schema, HL7’s FHIR, etc). We have validated this hypothesis 🙂
  • If we adopt a standard format for describing a common core set of directory data, the cost of developing and re-deploying new tools and websites will decrease, while the number and quality of such tools and sites will increaseWe have validated this hypothesis 🙂
  • “Open data systems” can increase distributed usage, which will yield an increase in user-submitted feedback on data quality, which will then yield a decrease in the cost of maintaining data qualityOur pilot projects are working to validate this hypothesis.
  • When an information system evolves into the ‘open data hub’ of a referral ecosystem, it can exponentially increase the distributed use of its resource data, while increasing its business opportunities to generate revenue for guaranteed levels of service and value-adding features associated with this data. For instance, metadata about the distributed use of resource data can be collected, analyzed and made available as business intelligence in exchange for revenue from funders, researchers, and governments. Our pilot projects are working to validate this hypothesis.
  • Organizations that maintain information about overlapping sets of services can cooperate by exchanging data and coordinating activities in mutually-beneficial ways, decreasing the costs of data maintenance and increasing the quality of available data. Our pilot projects are working to validate this hypothesis.