By standards, we refer to common ways of doing things. In the case of data standards, that means an agreed-upon set of terms and relationships that define and structure information, so that it can be readily transferred between systems.
With such common agreements, different technologies can ‘speak’ to each other — making it easier to integrate systems, and develop, redeploy, and scale new tools.
For resource directory information providers, the development of standards means that resource data can be published once and accessed simultaneously in many ways. That’s how the internet became the World Wide Web.
Standardizing data across places and institutions also makes it easier to analyze and evaluate data, which makes it easier to understand patterns and trends — including, in the case of community resource data, the health of communities and the effectiveness of our safety net.
Furthermore, the process of developing standards helps to bring stakeholders together. By building a community among users, producers, and service providers, we can accelerate the process of learning and innovation towards our shared vision of helping people and improving the health of communities.
With increasing adoption of open standards for resource directory data, we anticipate:
- Decreased cost of data production (as data produced once can circulate through many systems)
- Improved quality of data (as more use generates more user feedback)
- Improved findability of data through web search and an ecosystem of tools and applications; Decreased cost and improved quality of new and redeployed tools (websites, applications, etc).
- Improved quality of referral services (as patterns of resource allocation shift from maintaining data to delivering data)
- Meaningful use of resource data for research purposes, such as community health assessment, and policy-making and resource allocation.
- Healthier people and more resilient communities.