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Standardized identifiers for categorizing civic technology projects
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Standardized identifiers for categorizing civic technology projects and interests so we can better help people who want to work together find each other across the network

Discuss on Discourse: Common projects taxonomy

Taxonomy sets needed

  • Technologies
  • Topics/Interests
  • Skills
  • Project Roles

Project goals

  • Publish via this repository several lists of terms that describe the tools, topics, and techniques of civic technology
  • Establish community standards for the data format, language conventions, and organizational strategies of these taxonomies
  • Provide a user-friendly way to generate a pull request for adding a term
  • Automate as much of the review for pull requests as possible to help things move quickly
  • Automatically publish merged changes in a variety of formats for easy consumptions: plaintext, CSV, YAML, JSON
  • Provide hosted search endpoints with CORS enabled and example implementations of integrated inputs in a variety of html/javascript frameworks

Open questions

  • What sort of hierarchy is needed? Should the taxonomy lists be flat, organized within a single level of categories, or support any level of nesting?
    • Concensus seems to

Use cases

  • Brigades use various CMS tools for keeping track of their projects. The taxonomy could be imported into such a system or a dynamic input field embedded that suggests official topics for end users and moderators categorizing projects
  • A network-wide site could index local projects and take advantage of the official taxonomy to provide a better browsing/search experience
  • Brigade members could set up a profile indicating what topics they're interested in, and be alerted in the future when projects in their interest area(s) are started or have updates


Data files are structured with YAML and sorted alphabetically for consistent versioning and comparison.

i18n_yaml_sorter may be used to sort data files correctly:

sort_yaml < topics.yml > topics.sorted.yml && mv topics.sorted.yml topics.yml

Related work and reading

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