Progress Report 2021-22: Highlights from our Network

I’m excited to share Open Referral’s Progress Report for 2021-2022. You can download the report as a PDF here, and view the document online here. (All of our reports are accessible here.)

Unlike our usual Year in Review, this report describes activity across a whole 18-month period, because the time I’d set aside to do our Year in Review for 2021 was interrupted by a Covid-19 infection. I’m fine (the delay of this report seems to have been the worst outcome of the experience for me) and I’m very grateful, not only for my own health but also for the network of people in our community who have helped make the past couple of years some of our most productive and exciting yet.

Regular readers of this blog will find much of the contents of the report familiar: it summarizes recent victories in standards adoption like the UK government’s endorsement of Open Referral UK, as well as large scale implementations like the United Way Worldwide’s National 2-1-1 Data Platform, and new interoperability initiatives like that with FHIR for coordination of health and social care, and with for web search.

Also included is an update about our most recent cycle of upgrading the Human Services Data Specification, which has recently begun and for which we are seeking input from people like you! If you would like to contribute feedback on the features of our specs, and/or descriptions of your “use cases” for resource directory data exchange, please be in touch

Finally, in this report I’ve shared (in public for the first time!) a set of infographics (page 15-17) that, when taken together, summarize our strategic framework for the provision of resource directory information as a freely-accessible public good. (See this PDF and this whitepaper for standalone versions of these materials.) These infographics were sponsored by the Ostrom Workshop on the Commons at Indiana University, where I also wrote and published this research paper. These visual aids offer up three institutional models for publishing open, infrastructural resource data – each described in three ways: with a drawing, a narrative, and a haiku 😉

We’ll have more to share here on the blog on this front and others very soon.

For now, though, let’s take a moment to appreciate how far we’ve come – and to celebrate the efforts of people around the world who are working to transform the way we connect people in need to critical resources, through the development of data standards, open infrastructure, and equitable governance practices.

If you’re interested in getting involved in any of the efforts described in this report – or launching an initiative in your community or domain – we want to talk with you! If you might be able to support this work in any way, your help can make a huge difference. Please reach out to discuss.


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