ALISS stands for A Local Information System for Scotland. It’s a wide-ranging project taking a number of approaches to making it easier to find local resources. Much of this is still about self management support, since that’s where the programme has come from. But it’s going to be broader than that.
About 40% of the Scottish population lives with a long term health condition which is likely to have an impact on just about every aspect of daily life – looking after a family, studying, holding down a job or keeping up with friends.
An important part of helping people to live well with their condition is enabling them to manage their own health, providing the tools, activities and information they need to manage their condition effectively and live a full life.
Sometimes this is called Self Management.
So, what’s the problem? Why ALISS?
We’re tackling two main things really:
Firstly, to be good at self management, we need support and advice which is usually provided close to home, sometimes by people who have been through similar experiences. You’ll often find good examples of support on your community centre or library notice board.
But this good local stuff is often difficult to find on the web.
To help with this we’ve developed the ALISS Engine which acts as a central index for self management information. We can use it to collect, organise and share links to community support (Read more below)
Secondly, local directories tend to be ‘centrally’ created – useful examples of services and solutions from people living with long term conditions are unlikely to be included. The Engine is encouraging contributions from everyone – and that includes you, whether you’re a large organisation, a small charity or an individual. We’ve all got examples of what makes our life better.
The ALISS Engine, the ALISS project…
The ALISS project is a bunch of different activities aiming to make it easier to share and find local self management support. We hold events, help people to develop ideas for new services, map local assets and generally think differently about local information. Probably the best place to read more about this is our blog.
The ALISS Engine is the technology at the heart of the project. You can search the Engine to see what we’ve got indexed that’s local to you (click on search at the top of the screen).
How does the Engine work?
Imagine you’ve created your own directory of local organisations and services. It’s hard work to create and keep up to date – and then what to do with it? Even if it lives on the web, people need to know about it to search it.
The ALISS Engine can index all of the good stuff you’ve found and share it widely, as part of a national collection of community support.
Your service might look no different but now others can search and find your discoveries through other services using ALISS, if they choose to include your data. Your efforts are now even more widely appreciated!
The Engine is a big index – a national collection of links, published locally. And that’s the key – published locally. People looking for local information can search where they always do – on their local site. But now they get to search the national ALISS collection.
We want to help make your service better, delivering more relevant, richer local information.
Also, have a think about this – what new service would you like to build, knowing that you have access to a collection of other relevant local information? The Engine is a platform that allows you to do just that.
How does the Engine make it easier to find information?
Links held in ALISS are likely to surface in more places on the web simply because more people have access to them.
We’re enabling multiple curation – which means we can all contribute to a description of a resource. You might describe a riverside walk as being good for lifting the spirits. Others might describe it as being wheelchair-friendly. Same walk, different perspectives, more likely to be found when I search using terms that are relevant to me.
maybe a new service/app can deliver just what people are looking for, in the format they need it. We can help with that.
How do we make sure information is relevant ?
‘...but surely, anybody could put anything in there!’
Well, we’re using accounts to allow contributions so no, not anybody. But we do welcome all kinds flavours of support in the Engine. Coping with a condition takes many, many forms! If stamp collecting works for you then that goes in. We focus on usefulness rather than ‘quality‘ of information.
We’re looking to develop community moderation teams that know about the areas that we’re covering. If you know about good resources for those living with depression maybe you can help us by casting an eye over the stuff going in.
So, stamp collecting gets in but how do you stop it appearing in your service? You can tailor your results and make them as focused as you want.
So there are filters on the way in and the way out.
How do we make sure information is correct ?
The Engine is a collection of links or signposts. It collects the minimum amount of information. Description, location, time and date if relevant – and a link to the original source. That’s where people should be directed to.
The original publishers of the information continue to be responsible for keeping their web pages up to date. Those who added the resource to ALISS are responsible for keeping that record up to date.
Of course, things go wrong, links break, so we’re building in reporting features so that any information held by ALISS is as correct as possible.
If the link info in ALISS is correct then everyone has access to a single, reliable route to that resource. It can become your source of consistent information.
How do people use the ALISS Engine ?
Anyone can search ALISS. You can right now, up there at the top of the page. But we think it’ll look better if they’re getting ALISS search results on the site they’re already using – rather than having to go another web site. So most people searching ALISS will probably do so without realising it. It’ll power other web services they use.
If you want to add resources, share your ideas, connect with other contributors or use ALISS to power your service, you’ll need an account.
How do I get started ?
To find out how to take the first few steps, go to our Getting Started page.