Design Principles

The design of Human Services Data Specification is based on five principles: simplicity, factual, fidelity, provenance, and accessibility.

The underlying model is simple, consisting of four entities and associated properties that support who, what, where and when questions. The relationships between the entities are flexible and can model the majority of use cases for human services data. The goal is to build the simplest useful thing.

The data provided in the Human Services Data Specification are factual. This means that the information is verifiable and can be reproduced across different systems and applications.

Data fidelity is important. Data reproduced and used across different information systems must retain the same meaning and be represented in a consistent way. Implementing fidelity leverages the use of existing standards such as ISO time and date formats.

The standard must include information about the provenance of the data as well as a history of changes in order to provide an authoritative source. The standard supports column level metadata for a high degree of granularity.

The data must be a machine readable and writable format that can be created, updated and deleted with a basic text editor.

Current Human Services Data Specification Capabilities

Version 1.0 of the specification supports:

  • Provisioning the minimum amount of data needed to implement a service for search and discovery of human services provided by organizations
  • Machine readable format that can be imported directly into a relational database or viewed and edited using commonly available software such as a spreadsheet or a text editor
  • A common data exchange format between different information and referral systems.