A look inside the DC Open211 project

Over at Code for DC’s blog, the DC Open211 team reports back from the kickoff of the ‘Rebuilding Re-entry’ social lab.

At this event, a number of groups explored the various challenges facing people who return from prison — and one of the most prominent themes was the difficulty of finding reliable information about services that can help them get back on their feet. Of all the resource directories produced in the DC metro area, participants even identified three that are produced specifically for formerly incarcerated people, each with their own strengths and weaknesses, yet all siloed!

Over the course of the weekend, the DC Open211 team took a number of steps toward a world where this information is easier to find and use. You can read through the whole post, but one piece in particular is worth highlighting here: Continue reading

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Developing a Visual Vocabulary for Open Referral

This may seem obvious, but it bears repeating: the community resource directory data problem is complex, and complex things can be hard to understand.

During my work as lead organizer of the DC Open211 project, I’ve seen that there are so many people out there who want to find better ways to produce and share this information. However, to really make a difference, we need to be able to work together — and in order to work together, we need to share some common understanding of what we’re working with!

So we’ve developed a set of icons to convey the key elements of this complex topic in ways that can be understood at a glance.

Check it out:

Download a PDF here, and EPS files here. Continue reading

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