Stone Souping Social Service Information with Airtable

The Sahana Software Foundation makes high quality, open source information management systems for emergency preparedness, response, recovery and resilience. We were recently awarded a microgrant by Open Referral (using funding from Stanford’s Digital Impact program, with fiscal sponsorship from the Alliance of Information and Referral Services) to develop and deploy an open source system for managing community resource data in the popular AirTable platform and making it accessible via Open Referral’s Human Services Data API. Continue reading

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Hacking on Link With Optimizely And Benetech

Open Referral went to San Francisco on Wednesday August 9th to participate in a social good hack-day at Optimizely. In collaboration with our partner Benetech, Open Referral set up as one of the social good projects that 20+ employees worked on for the day.

 

Overall, our team was strong in front-end web and mobile developers, so we decided to “forward engineer” Zendesk’s Link-SF application so that it can be deployed on any Open Referral-compatible API. […]

You can find the updated Link source code in our Github repository. If you want to run this app locally, you can save a file as `config.js`and follow the instructions on the setup page. Continue reading

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Version 1.1 of the Human Services Data API Specification

[This post is from Kin Lane, the API Evangelist, who is serving as Open Referral’s deputized Technical Lead for our OpenAPI specification project. Thanks Kin!]

Version 1.1 of the Human Services Data API specification (HSDA 1.1) is now available for review and comment.

This is an alpha implementation of our OpenAPI specification. It is built upon version 1.1 of Open Referral’s Human Services Data Specification (HSDS). Whereas HSDS is designed to facilitate raw exchange and bulk publication of resource directory data, the HSDA serves as a common protocol for resource directory APIs.

To facilitate testing, we’ve made the HSDA available in this demonstration portal. This portal is a redeployable (and forkable) reference implementation that provides guidance for working with the HSDA protocols. Implementers can use it to easily set up a “developers’ area” for their own API implementation.

Moving forward, we’ll collect feedback from stakeholders and reiterate this process twice more over the course of the summer. We’re setting a day/time for the next Open Referral Assembly now; if you’re interested, indicate your availability here. Continue reading

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The Open Referral API project

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.

Thanks to Markets for Good for this opportunity!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!

Read Markets for Good’s announcement here. Continue reading

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Open Referral in Oklahoma!

This is a guest post from Aaron Bean of Asemio. Welcome, Aaron!

We’re pleased to introduce the first iteration of the Oklahoma Open 2-1-1 project, which is leveraging the Ohana platform and the Open Referral format to make it easier for Oklahoma residents to find and share information about community resources that can help improve their lives.

This is just an initial demonstration of a major initiative that dates back several years. A wide range of stakeholders across many sectors in Tulsa and our surrounding region have been developing a shared assessment of the complex nature of our social problems, and we have recently coalesced around a common goal: to understand and reduce disparities in health outcomes by race, class, and gender through a holistic view of the various community systems that serve individuals and families. (See our whitepaper PDF here.)

Toward this goal, we seek to answer the question of how we can better align and integrate the various resources in our community that might help solve complex social problems. Continue reading

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HelpSteps introduces new open source mobile app

For over ten years, HelpSteps has been helping the people of Greater Boston find the social services they need…. Recently, HelpSteps has been working with the Open Referral initiative. By standardizing the way that social services information is stored and shared, the team has positioned itself to work more closely with related organizations.

Perhaps the greatest benefit of this approach can be seen in HelpSteps’ new, open source mobile app. Available today for iOS and Android, this app marks a significant leap forward in portability, usability, and design. Continue reading

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New Partnerships up North: Open Referral in Canada

[UPDATE: The Ontario Non-Profit Network has posted its ‘Data Strategy,’ which specifically references the emerging partnerships described below. Check it out!]

Canada is an international leader in the field of open data, especially in the non-profit sector. The Canadian Revenue Agency was the first government entity of its kind to publish open, machine-readable data about the charity sector, including every gift made by foundations and charitable funds. Above and beyond this step, Canada’s open data portals — local, provincial, and federal — have been publishing vast amounts of data, including directory information about human services.

This is why it’s especially exciting to announce our new partnership between PoweredbyData and Open Referral. (See PoweredbyData’s announcement here.)….

We’re also pleased to share here that Ontario 211 will begin testing the publication of their resource database (which spans the entire province) in the Human Service Data Specification (aka the Open Referral format) over the course of the summer. This will pose a unique opportunity for public and civic initiatives — in the information-and-referral sector and beyond — to experiment with innovative new ways to share and deliver resource data for service delivery, research and analysis. Continue reading

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Huertas de Datos: Open Referral in Madrid

Early last month, I traveled to Madrid to discuss the community resource directory data problem, and our work here in the Open Referral initiative, at the commencement of a civic hacking workshop hosted by Medialab-Prado.

Medialab-Prado is a publicly-funded “citizen laboratory for the production, research and dissemination of cultural projects that explore collaborative forms of experimentation and learning that have emerged from digital networks.”

And it’s a beautiful space, too 🙂

Given that frame of the workshop was ‘Commoning Data,’ I felt like this was an invitation I shouldn’t pass up. Continue reading

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