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Strides Toward Seamless Information & Referral

It was only nine months ago that Code for America (CfA) published its book Beyond Transparency: Open Data and the Future of Civic Innovation and in this blog I reviewed Greg Bloom’s vision of creating a data commons to share community resource directory records.

In the short time since then, though, his efforts have created a very vigorous new discussion in the information and referral world. A couple of weeks ago I attended, in Oakland, the first workshop of the Open Referral Initiative, which seeks to develop open standards and platforms for exchanging, producing and circulating community resource records.

Coming away from that meeting, what most stuck in my mind was a notion about how data sharing efforts are governed: that when governance is necessarily decentralized (or polycentric), that might well lead to specifying more broadly usable data. [Click to read more on Stewards of Change blog.] 

—Derek Coursen

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