Technology Overview

The Open Referral Initiative is developing an ecosystem of free, open source tools that can help communities produce, share and use community resource directory data.


icon_19378The Open Referral model: The ‘Human Service Data Specification’ (HSDS) is a data exchange format that enables resource directory data to be published once and used in many different ways. HSDS provides a common vocabulary for information about services, into which any given resource directory dataset can be translated and then exchanged with any other resource directory information system. HSDS was initially drafted by Sophia Parafina, and it is currently at version 1.1 with stewardship from the Open Data Services Cooperative. It is being tested through various pilot projects, and we welcome feedback to set our agenda for future upgrades toward v2.0. [Read more. Frequently Asked Questions. Github repo; Documentation site]


Robot by Simon Child at the Noun Project - API: The Ohana API exposes community resource data from a single source to external applications. It is free, open source software that can turn any resource directory database into an open platform. [Ohana website; github repo]


icon_19374Ohana Web Search: As part of the Ohana package, Ohana Web Search is a front-end interface that displays content via the Ohana API. The interface is purposefully simple (“I need…”), and the application is easy to deploy and free to use and modify. [See Github repo; live deployment in San Mateo County.]


Wrench by P.J. Onori at the Noun Project - Admin: The Ohana API comes with a basic administration interface that enables individual users to input information for individual records. It also enables organizational representatives to edit their own records. A ‘Super Admin’ can edit any record, and create new admins.


Created by Alban Champliau at the Noun Project - The Toolkit – In the course of initial testing and evaluation, our lead stakeholders have identified the need for tools that can enable collaborative production and validation of resource data. (Including the ability to: synthesize data from multiple sources of varying trustworthiness; receive and validate user-submitted updates; resolve and sync conflicting records through a workflow process; track history and source of edits, and enable user discussion about fields and records; assign varying levels of editing ability to users; etc.) We’re currently identifying opportunities to prototype these features. Please reach out with questions or suggestions. [Read more.]

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Image credit: Icons from Robot by Simon Child; Wrench by P.J. Onori; Tools by Alban Champliau

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