How 2-1-1 Collects Data
Our team of five Resource Specialists works year round on updating our database of health and human services. Each person is responsible for a defined piece of the database. The team works closely together to maintain consistency in service term indexing, agency inclusion, and writing style. For more information contact Theresa Baylock, Manager of Information Services. at 860-571-6053 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
How We Maintain the Database
Our database is updated every day as we learn about changes. Information Coordinators continually check resources and contacts to verify changes to ensure that our data is as accurate and up-to-date as possible. We encourage you to contact us immediately if you see any information in printed or electronic directories that you believe is inaccurate.
How We Collect Information
2-1-1 makes a serious commitment to maintaining an accurate database. Our most dynamic resource for information is our callers themselves. Since our own call specialists are accessing the data every single day and giving information to thousands of callers, we often hear about new information or inaccurate records when changes are fresh. We also subscribe to newsletters and newspapers, looking for new or changed information. We also rely on agencies to let us know when they are getting inappropriate referrals or when they have new programs. We send annual printouts to each agency in our database, showing them the details we have about their services and sites. Agencies can then review their information, and send us back their corrections or verify that their information is still accurate.
2-1-1’s database managers enter agency information according to internal style rules. In general agency descriptions must state the agency type, and provide a general description of services and programs. We do not use agency mission statements or evaluative adjectives such as “comprehensive,” “successful,” etc. We also do not use “Inc.” after an agency’s name, unless the “Inc.” is a real part of the name and not just showing that the agency is incorporated. We have many other style rules that establish standards for when we must use complete sentences in descriptions; how to write addresses, hours, and administrator titles; when we add sites to agencies; when we add programs. Any questions about our style manual should be directed to the Director of Information Services.
Indexing an Agency’s Services
2-1-1 uses the Alliance of Information & Referral Systems (www.airs.org) approved Taxonomy of Human Services, a standard indexing system used by human service information and referral systems throughout the United States. This national taxonomy contains thousands of service terms, organized into ten general categories and many subcategories. 2-1-1 uses about 1,800 of these, chosen according to our own general information and referral needs. Agencies cannot re-name specific service terms since the terms are part of a national indexing system. However, we invite your comments and suggestions about the service terms we use and we do add terms or make changes to terms when community needs or standards in acceptable terminology advise a change.
Primary vs. Secondary Services
Agencies are indexed for “primary services” only, and not for “secondary services.” Primary services are entry-point services; secondary services are services that a consumer receives once they become agency clients. For example, a substance abuse treatment provider’s primary services may be Outpatient Substance Abuse Detoxification and Substance Abuse Counseling, and a secondary service may be the support groups that clients attend. Another agency may offer Substance Abuse Support Groups as a primary service, because that is the service that is available to the community.