Open Referral

The Open Referral Initiative develops data standards and open platforms that make it easy to share and find information about community resources. Learn more about the about at OpenReferral.org.

Using this documentation

This documentation contains reference materials and guidance related to various aspects of the Human Services Data Specification (HSDS), as well as the Open Referral Initiative itself.

Data Specifications

Pages inside the HSDS Reference section of the docs provide reference materials for HSDS. These materials are considered normative and should be given priority over all other materials about HSDS, excepting the canonical HSDS schemas provided on our Github repository.

The contents of the HSDS Reference Section contains specifications for HSDS’ data model, API reference, and HSDS Profiles. It also contains normative materials defining what it means to be conformant to HSDS, how identifiers of various kinds are used in HSDS, and how HSDS should be serialized.

Implementation Guidance

The HSDS Implementation Guidance section provides additional materials about specific topics in HSDS. These materials are marked as non-normative – which means that adherence thereof is not strictly required in order to comply with the standard. These materials provide guidance to implementers, and should be considered a complement to the standard rather than technically part of the standard itself.

The contents of the HSDS Implementation Guidance may also be useful to data users who want to understand more about HSDS in support of their analysis.

Open Referral Initiative

This documentation also provides materials about the Open Referral Initiative itself, which is distinct from HSDS. Pages in the About the Open Referral Initiative section do not directly describe HSDS, and therefore are not technically part of the standard.

The contents of the About the Open Referral Initiative section may be of interest for those looking to understand more about the wider Open Referral project as well as other standards which are relevant to HSDS.

Comment on our docs using Hypothes.is

This documentation supports community comments via Hypothes.is.

Hypothes.is is an annotation service embedded into this documentation site. You may notice some text highlighted in yellow, or the button in the top right of each page which reveals the list of annotations for that page.

To get involved in annotating the documentation, you’ll need to create an account at Hypothes.is, but it’s otherwise as simple as highlighting some text on the page and using the pop-up box to add your comments.

Our ecosystem

Open Referral’s ecosystem includes a range of working open source software applications that can be freely redeployed to work with HSDS-compatible data and/or APIs. Many of these tools can be found in our Github organization.

Learn more about the why’s, how’s, and who’s of the Open Referral Initiative in our Public Documentation, and browse all of our Project Documents on Google Drive

Join Open Referral’s Community of Practice

Get in touch

Questions not answered here? Suggestions for us?

Email us! We can discuss directly, and/or invite you to join our forum where you can engage in the various topics and ongoing discussions surrounding Open Referral and HSDS.

We also have a Slack team, which isn’t used all that often but feel free to request an invite and chat there.

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