AIRS/211 LA County Taxonomy of Human Services
The AIRS/211 LA County Taxonomy is the North American standard for indexing and accessing human services resource databases. The Taxonomy is a hierarchical system that contains more than 9,000 fully-defined terms that cover the complete range of human services. It serves as a common language that facilitates interoperability between different I&R resource databases, and represents a tremendous gift to the I&R movement that has evolved over 20 years thanks to the commitment of 211 LA County and the Taxonomy's editor, Georgia Sales. U.S. English, Canadian English and Canadian French versions of the Taxonomy can be accessed via the Taxonomy website at www.211taxonomy.org.
AIRS does not own, develop, or receive any financial benefit from the Taxonomy, although AIRS members do receive a discount on subscriptions. The Taxonomy is an intellectual property copyrighted by 211 LA County and available only to licensed subscribers. Vendors who create I&R software that incorporates the Taxonomy and I&R services that use the software to maintain a resource database employing the Taxonomy, are required to maintain a valid license.
Using the Taxonomy properly as either a Resource Specialist indexing information or an I&R Specialist retrieving information requires some work and perseverance. But in the long run, the Taxonomy is always the best option. Agencies new to the Taxonomy are recommended to begin with the "Starter Set". This is a pre-selected set of about 1,000 terms that are ideal for most resource databases, and you are free to add additional terms as specific needs arise.
For AIRS members looking for additional resources, up-to-date information, peer support, and direct involvement with the Taxonomy’s editor, there are online communities and document libraries set up on the AIRS Networker at http://airsnetworker.airs.org. The best option is to enter the Networker, click ‘Communities’ and then ‘All Communities’ on the top tab and then join the Taxonomy/Resource Database community.
A Selection of Taxonomy Training Resources:
- Taxonomy Tour with Georgia Sales: Part One - Covers filters, customization, new terms and use references, and double indexing.
- Taxonomy Tour with Georgia Sales: Part Two - Target terms, modality terms, related concepts, and searching of the resource database.
- Taxonomy 101: From Initial Intimidation to Complete Control - Learn how to use terms to index services, find solutions, and much more.
- Indexing with the Taxonomy - This classic article deals with design features, principles of indexing, and customizing the Taxonomy.
- Taxonomy Overview - This Powerpoint outlines basic principles of the Taxonomy, and is a good resource for training staff.
- Taxonomy Training Curriculum - Developed by AIRS with numerous handouts and exercises that can be used to train Resource Specialists in how to use the Taxonomy. Users are encouraged to freely adapt this to their own I&R software, training style and internal processes.
- Taxonomy Indexing Samples - Helpful for new users, over 150 basic service and program descriptions are matched with indexing terms.
- Double-Indexing: What is it and how to avoid it - This AIRS Taxonomy Committee document describes double-indexing, how to avoid it, and when it might be permitted.
- Taxonomy for I&R Specialists - Basic introductory training to understand the Taxonomy and techniques for searching resource databases.
- Taxonomy Online Training Course - This online course (fee applies) is available at http://airs.academy.reliaslearning.com, takes about 3 hours to complete and is a good way of assessing your "Taxonomy readiness".
- An Academic Overview of Taxonomies - This Powerpoint explains some of the theories and practices about all taxonomies.
- Criteria for I&R Software Using the AIRS Taxonomy - Primarily directed at I&R software vendors to explain how the Taxonomy needs to be set up on their systems in order to be used most effectively, it also allows I&R agencies to look at some specific requirements when considering software options.
- www.211taxonomy.org - The main website contains helpful information and license acquisition to use the AIRS/211 LA County Taxonomy.