"CIARD has been [...] promoting and providing the tools for breaking down the barriers which many times keep scientific knowledge out of the hands of all"

Tell us something about yourself... what is your background and role in the organization you are working for?
I am the ICT Manager at the CGIAR Consortium in Montpellier, France. I am responsible for implementing CGIAR Consortium Office’s ICT strategy, improving its web-based data, information, and knowledge management systems, and providing strategic guidance for CGIAR Consortium IT Management.

My background spans several disciplines and is rooted in pure data management, information management, mathematical sciences, music, ICT, and Geographic Information Systems (GIS). I am passionate about the innovations and efficiencies that ICT provides in Agricultural Research, leading to the improvement of our lives and environmental sustainability.

How did you get in contact with AIMS?
My first connection with AIMS was through my work with the World Food Programme (WFP), collaborating with FAO and investigating agricultural standards and metadata resources. I continued to have close and frequent contact with AIMS when I moved from WFP to CGIAR’s ICT-KM Program, supporting and promoting the CIARD pathways. These two connections allowed me to witness AIMS’ evolution as it built a community around the dissemination of information standards, tools and Open Access.

Which sections and services on AIMS are of particular use to you?
I am a staunch promoter of interoperability and information standards. In my role at CGIAR, it would be difficult to imagine agricultural information products without the tools and services AIMS offers. AGROVOC is the de facto standard vocabulary in agricultural research. The AIMS community includes many of my colleagues in CGIAR and many of our partners, so staying on top of what’s happening and getting updates on the standards and tools are key to my work in ICT for CGIAR. So, I subscribe to AIMS news, and I follow its social media channels.

Within the domain of agricultural information management standards, tools and methodologies, in which areas should the community invest more? Could you highlight an issue?
As an ICT Manager, I must say that important investments should be made in providing and disseminating AIMS tools with “as-a-service” cloud technologies. The cloud, apps, and APIs are no longer trends to watch, but are part of today’s ICT landscape. Imagine AgriDrupal as a turn-key Azure Cloud service, or spinning up an instance of AgriOcean DSpace on Amazon Web Services. Those with limited IT support would benefit from such offerings.

Could you give an example of an initiative or tool that has successfully contributed to making agricultural information more accessible?
There are several important initiatives and tools. The CIARD initiative brings together important agricultural research organizations and their partners with the goal of making research outputs accessible. CIARD has been successful by empowering these institutions, not only with technologies and systems, but also by promoting and providing the tools for breaking down the barriers which many times keep scientific knowledge out of the hands of all.

A tool that has contributed to making agricultural information more accessible is DSpace. DSpace is an open-source repository tool and is widely used by research institutions and universities to store and disseminate outputs. DSpace employs standards for metadata and controlled vocabularies, and it exposes information using OAI-PMH (Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting).