Information and Referral: Introduction to Taxonomy and Indexing

Information and Referral: Introduction to Taxonomy and Indexing 

Although they sometimes have different titles in different agencies, within Information and Referral (I&R) organizations, there are two main categories of staff: (1) I&R Specialists who work directly with clients, and (2) Resource Specialists who provide the information needed by the I&R Specialists and other community partners. Both use the AIRS/211 LA County Taxonomy. The Resource Specialists use it to index database records while I&R Specialists use it to retrieve database records in order to find accurate referrals for clients. The Taxonomy consists of over 10,000 fully-defined terms covering all aspects of human services. This interactive course outlines the structure of the Taxonomy and the terms themselves, the different types of Taxonomy terms, and the principles of quality indexing that facilitate information retrieval. The course was written by AIRS staff member, Clive Jones, a former President of InformCanada, who is responsible for the AIRS Certification Program in addition to assisting with national I&R training and standards development. It was adapted from material within the AIRS I&R Training Manual. AIRS is the nonprofit Alliance of Information and Referral Systems at


Hours: 3.25


Certificates provided by accrediting body (1 Match)

Alliance of Information and Referral Systems Certificate of Completion

3.25 HOURS

Course Details

Course Code: REL-HHS-AIRS-ITI-V2
Hours: 3.25
Type: Online Course
Content Expiration Date: 12/31/2023
Learning Objectives:
Describe the reasons why resource databases need to be organized and indexed.
Define the basic principles of indexing with the Taxonomy.
Summarize the structure of the AIRS/ 211 LA County Taxonomy.

Section 1: Introduction A. About This Course B. Learning Objectives C. Introduction D. Human Services Example E. Classification System Section 2: Organizing and Indexing Information A. Organizing and Indexing Information Section 3: Structure and Strengths A. Structure and Strengths of the AIRS/211 LA County Taxonomy B. Service Categories C. Term Code/Name, Hierarchy Level, and Definitions D. Terms E. Code F. Definition G. Use References H. See Also References I. Related Concepts J. Let’s Practice K. Facets or Concepts Section 4: Basic Principles of Taxonomy Indexing A. Basic Principles of Taxonomy Indexing B. Primary versus Secondary C. Do Not Index Ancillary, Phantom, or Indirect Services D. Let’s Practice E. Indexing with Target Terms F. Let’s Practice G. Double Indexing H. Consistency of Usage Section 5: Taxonomy Indexing Exercise A. Taxonomy Indexing Exercise Section 6: Customizing the Taxonomy A. Customizing the Taxonomy Section 7: Course Review A. Test Your Knowledge! Section 8: Conclusion A. Summary B. Course Contributor C. Resources D. References E. Congratulations!

Instructor: Clive Jones, B.A.

Clive Jones is a former President of InformCanada, and is responsible for I&R training, credentialing, and standards development.

Disclosure: Clive Jones, B.A. has declared that no conflict of interest, Relevant Financial Relationship or Relevant Non-Financial Relationship exists.
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Course Delivery Method and Format
Asynchronous/Online Distance Learning; please see certificate details for specifics on delivery format.
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