Information & Referral in the USA & Canada


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  • The intent is to enhance the usability and usefulness of the Web and its interconnected resources through: documents "marked up" with semantic information (an extension of the HTML <meta> tags used in today's Web pages to supply information for Web search engines using web crawlers). This could be machine-readable information about the human-readable content of the document (such as the creator, title, description, etc., of the document) or it could be purely metadata representing a set of facts (such as resources and services elsewhere in the site). Common metadata vocabularies and maps between vocabularies that allow document creators to mark up their documents so that agents can use the information in the supplied metadata (so that Author in the sense of 'the Author of the page' won't be confused with Author in the sense of a book that is the subject of a book review).
  • Information & Referral in the USA & Canada

    1. 1. Information & Referral in the USA & Canada
    2. 2. AIRS <ul><li>Alliance of Information & Referral Services </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>AIRS has a 30 year history as the professional association for over 1000 community information and referral (I&R) providers, primarily in the United States and Canada </li></ul>
    3. 3. Annual Conference <ul><li>AIRS holds an annual Education & Training Conference that brings together I&R managers and practitioners from around the US and Canada. </li></ul><ul><li>It is held in a different location each year </li></ul>
    4. 4. AIRS 2007 – Jacksonville Florida
    5. 5. Jacksonville skyline
    6. 12. Jacksonville Public Library
    7. 18. Conference
    8. 19. Conference dinner
    9. 20. AIRS & United Way <ul><li>AIRS works in partnership with the United Way, the lead organisation in the development of the 2-1-1 movement that has transformed access for human services. </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
    10. 21. 2-1-1 Helping people get and give help <ul><li>A partnership between United Way of America and the Alliance of Information and Referral Systems, 2-1-1 is an easy-to-remember telephone number that connects those needing or offering help with services available in the community. </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
    11. 22. 2-1-1 is 10! <ul><li>The 2-1-1 movement has just celebrated its 10th anniversary. </li></ul><ul><li>In the last decade it has grown to cover almost 70% of the US population. It has achieved a high national profile and proven its value in increasing the efficiency of human services access and delivery, engaging volunteer participation in the community and providing a critical role in disaster response. </li></ul>
    12. 23. Conference sessions <ul><li>Dissection 101: the anatomy of an inquiry and the needs assessment </li></ul><ul><li>Examining the ways in which clients present their questions or problems and using effective questioning and probing to clarify and identify their needs so that appropriate referral can be provided. </li></ul>
    13. 24. <ul><li>I&R centres and wikis: the best of both technologies </li></ul><ul><li>Illustrating how wiki technology combined with an I&R provider database can leverage the knowledge management capabilities of a wiki with the information management capabilities of an I&R database. </li></ul><ul><li>Wiki technology appears to be relatively new to the I&R field and this project presented a innovative way of using wikis that CISA could usefully trial with a partner community organisation. </li></ul>
    14. 25. <ul><li>The role of resource departments during disasters </li></ul><ul><li>Disasters are high in the awareness of community service providers in the US with recent experiences of devastating hurricanes and other non-natural disasters. </li></ul><ul><li>This session drew on the experience of I&R staff who had dealt with the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita and how they had adapted their practices and processes when electricity supplies were unavailable or unreliable and capturing ephemeral information became critical eg availability of ice, petrol and other essential supplies. </li></ul>
    15. 26. <ul><li>Going from keywords to taxonomy: facing your fear, fright and dread </li></ul><ul><li>Not all I&R services currently use the AIRS Taxonomy and the transition from an informal keyword system to the formalized process of indexing, using a complex taxonomy, is an intimidating process for some. Indexing practice is scrutinized and tested during the accreditation process, so it is necessary for practitioners to use it competently. </li></ul>
    16. 27. AIRS Taxonomy <ul><li>The AIRS/211 LA County Taxonomy is to the information and referral field what the Library of Congress catalog system is to libraries </li></ul>
    17. 28. <ul><li>Community information services in Australia have many characteristics in common with our counterparts in North America: </li></ul><ul><li>Strong ethic of serving the community </li></ul><ul><li>Recognition of CI as an essential community resource </li></ul><ul><li>Diversity of information management approaches and platforms </li></ul><ul><li>Duplication of content between information providers </li></ul>
    18. 29. <ul><li>North America has achieved a greater degree of national unity for I&R services through the establishment of a national organisation 30 years ago and its effective operation in gaining membership and providing pathways for organisations and individuals to gain skills and to standardise their practices and methods of service delivery. </li></ul>
    19. 30. <ul><li>This now appears to be reaching a critical mass with the success and continued growth of 2-1-1 and the accreditation and certification processes that ensure service quality and consistency. Successful partnerships with UWA and other organisations have contributed. AIRS has been able to gain the support of key politicians and is committed to increasing its profile at the federal government level. </li></ul>
    20. 31. <ul><li>Areas in which they are not particularly advancedinclude: </li></ul><ul><li>low level of engagement with and use of newer web technologies (eg Web 2.0) </li></ul><ul><li>heavy reliance on the Taxonomy without apparent awareness of its inflexibility and decreasing relevance as an information tool </li></ul><ul><li>low level of linkage with public libraries with which they have many common interests </li></ul><ul><li>low awareness of and connection with academic research that is relevant to the field and may inform and influence their future practice and direction </li></ul>
    21. 36. Occidental Public Library