What about the problem of service taxonomes?

Open Referral recognizes the existence of a diverse array of taxonomies that are used to describe types of services, organizations, and people for whom services are available. Given that such categories are inherently subjective – whereas Open Referral’s Human Services Data Specification only describes factual data – we do not prescribe a specific taxonomy.

Instead, our data format specifies a way to include any taxonomy in open data, and our API protocols offer methods for supporting multiple taxonomies for use in the same data set.

Several prominent taxonomies, such as the 2-1-1 LA Taxonomy, are prohibited from public use by intellectual property claims. This poses barriers to the accessibility of community resource data. We are committed to seek solutions that can sustainably and responsibly remove barriers to the widespread use of these important classification tools.

We’d welcome opportunities to discuss the prospect of “opening up” any given proprietary service taxonomy, as we believe such a taxonomy could be more widely used, more easily maintained, and more financially sustainable by becoming open access infrastructure. Please reach out to discuss.

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