So I’m seeing this issue floating around and I want to create a space to discuss it (in part inspired by this thread on the AIRS networker, which won’t be accessible to non-members).
In Open Referral’s data model, we can now have attributes to describe various entities. the big one is
service of course: a service taxonomy classifies the various types of services. But in addition to service types, there are also types of people. In the 211LA taxonomy, there’s a separate branch for
target population and I think people manage these concepts in different ways.
This article seems to be cited as a still relevant bit of guidance for the I&R call center sector. It outlines different methods – linking a service term to a target population term creates a compound term, whereas floating terms are just multiple terms assigned to a single record. The article lays out some examples of advantages and disadvantages of each.
The article also acknowledges that some terms for
service type can explicitly name the type of person served (i.e.
Domestic violence support groups) – in which case the function of a
target term would seem to already have been met. But if search results are being performed explicitly on target terms, to identify services associated with say
Survivors of domestic violence, this kind of service might be missed by the filter if it’s not specially tagged by the target term.
The reason I wanted to start this here is that I noticed that target terms are often used to function as a kind of
Eligibility category. I think this is what is implied (perhaps unintentionally) by the Open Eligibility taxonomy structure, which has the dual branches of
types of services and
types of situations which consist of tags that, if applied together, seem to suggest that a given type of person is eligible for a given type of service. But I don’t think that’s quite right; a service might be relevant to various types of people yet have eligibility rules that aren’t necessarily types of people at all (like income, housing status, enrollment in other programs, etc).
So I want to see how people think about these related, but distinct concepts – especially the difference between target population and eligibility rules. And I want to acknowledge that I think the right answer to some extent is “it depends,” primarily on what a particular set of users need and the best way to meet those needs given available resources. But recognizing that variable contingency, I still want to ask: how ought resource data be structured across these attributes in order to serve as infrastructure for many different use cases that might entail different decisions about search and delivery and etc.