Information management standards are living entities and must evolve over time

Tell us something about yourself... what is your background and role in the organization you are working for?
I am currently the President of the International Association of Agricultural Information Specialists (IAALD). With a Ph.D. in Socio-economics from the University of Social and Economic Sciences, Vienna, Austria, I joined the Economics Program at the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) in Mexico in 1979 and in 1984 became the leader of a scientific information management project funded by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), Canada. In 2001, I was invited by the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) in Colombia to head the Information and Documentation Unit and in 2006 became the Head of Corporate Communications and Capacity Strengthening (CCC). Throughout my professional career I tried to implement innovative scientific information management and knowledge sharing approaches and was commissioned by the World Bank, the Kellogg Foundation, and other entities in Latin America, Africa, and Asia to perform consultancies. Upon retiring from CIAT at the end of 2011, I have decided to establish my new/old home base in Austria.

How did you get in contact with AIMS?
I am continuously looking for up-to-date information in the information management and knowledge sharing area and in this search have become familiar with AIMS in its very early stages.

What is your opinion on AIMS?
It's a very active service with many different components and a lot of useful news items - sometimes too many, but that's what anyone in our profession has to cope with. However, certain components may become particularly relevant, once we ourselves or our colleagues become involved in projects that require them.

According to you, what is the most important benefit that AIMS provides to the agricultural information management community?
Information management standards are living entities and must evolve over time. To have a group that is not only closely involved in setting and updating these standards, but also efficiently communicating on what is going on, is enormously valuable.

How do you think that information management standards can contribute to agricultural research for development?
Having worked in developing countries for the past 35 years, convinced me of the value of south-south collaboration. Precisely in agriculture there are location-specific technologies and innovations that require south-south information flows to work efficiently. For instance a disease efficiently combatted with biological means in Latin America, could easily be prevented in similar eco-reginonal circumstances in Africa and Asia. In order to make this happen, Spanish language articles, news and concepts, need to become known quickly and efficiently by African and Asian researchers and technicians, confronted with similar disease threats. Information management tools such as the multi-lingual thesaurus AGROVOC dating back to the 1970s and updated regularly continue to play an important role in such information exchanges.