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Contribute to our Directory of Human Services

Purpose

The purpose of this task is to turn existing resources that contain information about human services available to people affected by Superstorm Sandy into open data that numerous stakeholders can collaboratively edit, update and maintain. Our hope is that this will result in a comprehensive resource that human services professional can use to better serve their clients.

Context

There are dozens of individuals and groups managing information about human & social services and programs available to Sandy-affected individuals and communities. For the most part, these efforts use their own schema and taxonomies to organize their information, making their resources incompatible with each other. This incompatibility means that the information resources can’t be easily merged together, and people working on different resources can’t collaborate together.

Our Solution

We’re using the emerging Open Referral data standards for our directory of services and advocating other folks do as well so we can all share our resources together and collaboratively build a comprehensive directory of the human services available to survivors and case managers. To achieve this our goal we’re currently using a shared Google Spreadsheet to aggregate data and a Google Fusion Table to display it to the public. In the future we will manage it through an instance of Ohana. Ultimately we plan to merge this data with other relief and resilience data and manage it through a Sahana EDEN system, which will make it available in a variety of formats, including CSV, XLS, XML, KML and PDF.

All our data is now and will continue to be licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Task

Orientation

Open this spreadsheet. You’ll see seven sheets.

  • “Introduction” contains the same/similar information as this web page.
  • “Services” is the directory that people who want assistance information can access and search through. A pop-up will appear when you hover over each column header that explains what type of information should be entered into the column. Column headers correspond to the standards established by Open Referral.
  • “service_type” is a list of terms used to describe the services. This is the taxonomy. The “Services” sheet validates whether you use these terms to define services.
  • “audience” is a list of terms that describe the type of people for whom this service is designed and is relevant. The “Services” sheet validates whether you use these terms to define services.
  • service_area” is a list of terms that describes the neighborhoods and geographic areas in which services are provided. The “Services” sheet validates whether you use these terms to define services.
  • “Sources” is where you’ll find a list of resources that contain human service information we want to add to our “Services” sheet.
  • “Work Log” is where you can say when you’re adding sources to prevent people from doing work on the same areas and to document people’s contributions to the spreadsheet.

Getting Started

  • Add services by copying our data standards template into a Google, Excel or LibreOffice spreadsheet. If you don’t know where to find services information, pick a source from the “Sources” sheet and work on that.
  • Fill in as much information about each new services as you can. A good source of services data is the lovely “Disaster Recovery Resources” PDF.  Make sure to use the taxonomies in the template to describe the service_type and audience.

  • To get your data uploaded to our directory, email a CSV to data@nycprepared.org or upload it at the bottom of this page. If you can’t see an upload button, register for FLOCurrency and return to this page. Once you’ve gotten us the data we’ll merge it with the master dataset and will let you know when it’s all done.
  • Don’t forget to add a time entry to the “Work Log” so people know that you’ve begun work on a specific resource and don’t repeat work you’re already doing. This time logging may also be used to calculate your reward.

Notes:

  • When calling organizations to find out more information, feel free to say “I work with NYC:Prepared to collect information about services for people affected by Super Storm Sandy. Do you mind if I ask you a few questions about the services you offer?”
  • When entering information about services, do your best to classify each service with ONE category.

 

Reward

You must register for FLOCurrency to receive points.

You will be awarded 1 point for every row to which you made a “substantial” contribution. To receive points, submit your username and approximate the amount of rows you added/updated to the spreadsheet in the area below, or email that info to us at data@nycprepared.org.

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