Happy new year! In celebration, I’m excited to share news about a big milestone in the evolution of the Open Referral Initiative: Open Referral is now fiscally sponsored by Aspiration, a 501c3 organization that provides facilitation and capacity-building support to nonprofit technology initiatives. Continue reading
Happy new year! (We’re less than three weeks in, so we can still say that – right??)
Open Referral’s 2017 Year in Review is available to read here, and embedded below. (See our previous year-in-review reports here in our public document gallery.)
Open Referral’s Human Service Data API protocols (HSDA v1.2) are ready for use!
Check out our documentation site here.
Use our live developer portal here.
Finally (for geeks and non-geeks): read the report on this phase of our development.
And read more about this exciting new chapter below: Continue reading
Open Referral is grappling with a complex, systemic issue – so we made an animated video to explain the problem and our approach to solutions in just a few minutes.
Check it out here:
Last year, the Miami Open211 project set out to demonstrate that an information-and-referral helpline operator can evolve into an open platform — providing machine-readable data as a service to its community — in ways that are both technically efficient and institutionally sustainable.
This project, which began in partnership with Switchboard of Miami, was Open Referral’s first formal pilot with a 2-1-1 provider.
Last week, we submitted the final report for this first phase of innovation. Many thanks to the Children’s Trust of Miami-Dade County, which funded our experiment, and Jewish Community Services of South Florida, the new steward of Miami-Dade’s 2-1-1 service. With their blessing, we are excited to share our findings with the Open Referral community.
And check out a summary of our key accomplishments below. Continue reading
Much of the story I told will be familiar to folks who are already familiar with Open Referral — but this may be the first time I’ve managed to give a proper tour through the wickedness of this problem, and the principles that guide our search for solutions, all in just about twelve minutes. So give it a watch! (My talk starts at 14m40s.)
The Open Referral Initiative’s next chapter starts now!
Open Referral has helped over a dozen community organizations find new ways to share resource directory information about the health, human, and social services available to people in need. Our Human Services Data Specification provides a common ‘machine language’ that any technology can be programmed to understand. This work has spurred a proliferation of ‘Application Programming Interfaces’ (APIs) — which publish machine-readable resource data for third-parties to query in real-time, so they can repurpose it in new ways.
So our newest mission is to establish interoperability across this new wave of resource directory APIs, so that machine-readable data about human services can be easily accessed and shared with a common protocol — regardless of technology, jurisdiction, organizational status, etc.
Toward this end, we’ve received funding from the Markets for Good program — which is now a part of the new Digital Impact initiative (digitalimpact.io) hosted by the Digital Society Lab at Stanford’s Center for Philanthropy and Civil Society!
I’m pleased to share Open Referral’s 2016 Year in Review. (You can browse the document here, download the complete PDF here, or skim through the document embedded at the end of this post.) Continue reading
We’re pleased to announce a new strategic partnership with Benetech, one of the world’s leading non-profit software development organizations.
Benetech was formed in 1989 and in the time since has developed a series of products that have improved lives and transformed industries around the world — starting with Bookshare (the world’s largest online library of accessible ebooks for people with blindness or dyslexia) and most recently featuring projects like Martus (for secure mobile document sharing among human rights organizations and activists).
Benetech focuses on doing “the right stuff right” — in other words, they choose work that can make a difference in people’s lives, and they build state-of-the-art technology that can scale. Open source development and social good are at the core of their principles.
That aligns directly with our work in Open Referral. Continue reading
Last year, Open Referral introduced Version 1.0 of the Human Services Data Specification — an open data exchange format designed to make it easier for different organizations to share standardized information about the health, human, and social services available to people in need. Since then, a broad range of organizations have used the HSDS to make resource directory data easier to find and use in new ways in their communities.
We’ve received a lot of great feedback along the way, and we’re now ready to put this learning into action — by improving the HSDS itself, and making it easier for people and organizations to use.
This upgrade cycle has already begun: the Open Data Services Cooperative (read their introduction here) has already taken a series of steps to make it easier to understand, comment upon, and work with the HSDS.