The Taxonomy

211 LA County Taxonomy of Human Services

The 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

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 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:


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