AgriOcean Dspace is a joint initiative of the United Nations agencies of FAO and UNESCO-IOC/IODE to provide a customized version of DSpace using high standards for metadata, thesauri and other controlled vocabularies in oceanography, marine science, food, agriculture, development, fisheries, forestry, natural resources and other related sciences.
The best of both worlds
The communities supported by FAO and UNESCO-IOC/IODE are synergistic and the standards on metadata and controlled vocabularies are similar for both. Collaborating offers the fortunate opportunity to integrate in a common repository tool the best of both worlds.
Regarding UNESCO-IOC/IODE this comes from the Hasselt University Library in Belgium which produced in 2004 for IODE a customized version of DSpace called OceanDocs (latest version used is 1.5) and adapted it to the standards of the Oceanographic community. FAO, instead, customized DSpace in 2007 in collaboration with the Indian Statistical Institute as a tool for AGRIS centres using the AGRIS Application Profile (AP). All these developments are going to be integrated in AgriOcean Dspace using Dspace version 1.7.
FAO and UNESCO-IOC/IODE provide the customization of Dspace in order to produce high quality metadata and to use thesauri. Dublin Core and AGRIS AP are the metadata used to assure that AgriOcean Dspace is OAI compliant and thus interoperable, that its data can be exchanged. High quality metadata have a beneficial influence not only on the visibility and interoperability of the records hold by a repository, but also on the accessibility. Still only through the use of controlled vocabularies a repository can reach the highest state of accessibility which is reached when a system search results in a exhaustive search result. Authority control for AGROVOC, the multilingual agricultural thesaurus, developed by FAO and the Commission of the European Communities in the early 80s, and ASFA will be integrated. In a later stadium Kasetsart University (Thailand) will add a thesaurus plug-in using web services for both thesauri.
Finally the Hasselt University Library responsible for integrating all mentioned developments in AgriOcean Dspace, will create an Windows-based installer which will be available in April 2011. This is essential for the targeted communities, consisting mostly of smaller institutes in developing countries.
To exchange information and assist the institutions involved in AgriOcean Dspace with issues that come up while installing and/or using AgriOcean Dspace a community is created on the Agricultural Information Management Standards (AIMS) website (http://aims.fao.org/community/group/agriocean-dspace ).
The benefits of customizing DSpace in terms of using high quality metadata and using thesauri like AGROVOC are huge. AgriOcean Dspace will make scientific publications in the fields of marine, agriculture and related sciences easy and freely accessible and facilitate publishing of research findings by scientists. More specifically it will enhance the internal scientific communication and help involved institutional repositories with setting up OAI-compliant repositories. AgriOcean Dspace will contribute to opening up a world of knowledge and hopes to help to bring forth development in the fields of oceanography, marine science, food, agriculture, development, fisheries, forestry, natural resources and related sciences.