AIMS Newsletter no.42, July/August 2015

Focus on the E-Forum: Sustainable Development Goals: The Impact of Access to Information on our Societies

The Confederation of Open Access Repositories (COAR), the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) and Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) are organizing an e-forum on “Sustainable Development Goals: The Impact of Access to Information on our Societies” which will take place from 7th to 18th of September 2015. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a universal set of goals, targets and indicators that United Nations (UN) members will use to frame their policies over the next 15 years. They have become one of the key elements on future international development. If SDGs are approved during the UN summit in September 2015, they will be applicable beginning on January 2016 and will formally replace the Millennium Development Goals.


As organisations committed to access to information, the organizers believe that access to information in any form, including open access, is a critical element for sustainable development. An international commitment around access to information via the SDGs by UN member states could enhance the possibilities to ensure that everyone has access to, and is able to understand, use, and share the information that is necessary to promote sustainable development and democratic societies. Therefore, we are promoting access to information as an important aspect of the SDGs. Acknowledging the public's right to access information and data, while respecting the right to individual privacy. Recognising the important role of local authorities, information intermediaries and infrastructure such as ICTs and an open Internet as a means of implementation. Adopting policy, standards and legislation to ensure the continued funding, integrity, preservation and provision of information by governments, and access by people.

This e-forum will focus on these three questions:

  1. What are the ways that access to information (and more narrowly open access) contributes to sustainable development? Please elaborate in case studies and examples if possible.

  2. How can libraries and information centres promote the adoption of access to information as part of the "post-2015 agenda, in particular SDGs"? Have you considered contacting your relevant Ministries to ensure that access to information, open access, and information providers (such as libraries and information centres) are reflected in the National Development plans?

  3. What can we do collectively - for example, through COAR, FAO and IFLA- to raise awareness of open access and access to information in the context of SDG discussion?

Target users:  The e-forum is aimed at information professionals in general, any person related to access to information, libraries, information centers is invited and encouraged to participate in the forum.

Dates:  The e-forum on “Sustainable Development Goals: The Impact of Access to Information on our Societies” which will take place from 7th to 18th of September 2015.

Webinars: In order to support the discussions, a series of webinars have been planned (Tuesdays & Fridays at 16:00 CEST ). Presentations will be conducted by experts who will provide important background information for participants and to help stimulate dialogue and discussion. All the webinars will be recorded. The Webinars are open to anyone, registration will not be required.

How to join:  The e-forum is open to anyone, places are not limited. If you are interested to participate in this online event, use the form at

Highlights from the community

  • Control the way you receive news and notifications from AIMS. The AIMS Editorial team would like to notify all AIMS users that  they can now control e-mail alerts coming from AIMS. More info
  • The Global Partnership for Sustainable Development will be formally launched in September with the main objective to support the UN Sustainable Development Goals. More info
  • Open Data in Africa : A path in the right direction. The Open Data for Africa is one of the comprehensive representation of collections from all Africa data by an African institution. The platform is supported by the African Development Bank Group (AfDB) and is committed to support statistical development in Africa. More info
  • Open-access database will help water-scarce countries get more crop per drop. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations announced the new open-open access portal to be developed, which will use satellite imagery to help water-scarce countries in the Near East and North Africa. More info
  • Access to ICT during training workshops, a lesson from AGORA/TEEAL workshop in Nigeria. Since 2004, one major challenge that I and colleagues at the Information Training and Outreach Centre for Africa (ITOCA) have experienced, when planning training workshops on using Research4Life electronic resources, has been finding a room or venue with adequate ICT facilities to accommodate the more than 30 participants that usually attend such workshops. More info
  • Promoting Open Knowledge and Open Science: Current State of Repositories. The Confederation of Open Access Repositories (COAR),on behalf of the COAR Aligning Repository Networks Committee recently published a report entitled ''Promoting Open Knowledge and Open Science". This report presented an overview of the international repository landscape and was written with a broader audience in mind. More info
  • Announcing OnToology, a tool for collaborative ontology development. OnToology helps ontology developers to document, evaluate, draw diagrams and publish ontologies, always providing them with the control on the generated outputs for additional editing. More info
  • Open Vacancies on Open Education at the Open University of the Netherlands. Three open vacancies for Open Education and Innovation at the Open University of the Netherlands are published (one Post-Doc and two PhD positions). More info
  • Connecting Stakeholders in the Forum on Open Data and Open Science in Agriculture in Kenya. The Forum on Open Data and Open Science in Agriculture, that took place on the 15th of June 2015 in Nairobi, Kenya, brought together 44 stakeholders in agriculture for an exchange of strategies on improving the visibility and accessibility of agricultural data and science in Kenya. More info
  • Curso en Línea “Introducción a la Gestión de Datos de Investigación” - Plazo de inscripción abierto hasta el 18 de Septiembre de 2015. Con el objetivo de facilitar el aprendizaje sobre la gestión de datos de investigación en América Latina, este curso presenta de forma sencilla una introducción al tema usando como ejemplo experiencias del entorno internacional. More info
  • "Improving Semantics in Agriculture" Workshop - Material Online! If you are interested in the workshop material and further background information, please have a look at the workshop webpage:
  • More info
  • Meaningful combinations between two or more databases: The SemaGrow Stack is tested by the FAO AGRIS team. The FAO AGRIS team is testing one of the main outcomes of the SemaGrow project, the SemaGrow Stack, with the objective to use this technology for the provision of meaningful information for AGRIS mash-up pages. More info
  • BlueBRIDGE will create open data services for the Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries. FAO, in a consortium of 14 partners, plans to start BlueBRIDGE with support from EU H2020 to develop data services for fisheries and environmental and spatial management. More info

Conferences and Workshops

Upcoming Webinars

  • 18th September 2015. [email protected] on AKSTEM, by Effie Tsiflidou (The official announcement will be published soon on AIMS)
  • 29th September 2015. [email protected] on RIOXX, by Paul Walk (The official announcement will be published soon on AIMS)
  • TBA. [email protected] on controlling AIMS notifications, by Thembani Malapela


What does “ information extraction” stand for? Information extraction is the task of automatically extracting structured information from unstructured and/or semi-structured machine-readable documents. Ontology-based information extraction (OBIE) is the use of an ontology to inform a “tagger” or information extraction program when doing natural language processing. Input ontologies thus become the basis for generating metadata tags when tagging text or documents.

More info: Glossary of Semantic Technology Terms or Wikipedia

IFLA - Improving Access to Information to support the Sustainable Development Goals

Fiona Bradley is the Manager of Development programmes at the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA). She manages the Action for Development through Libraries Programme (ALP) and contributes to IFLA’s work on access to information in the UN post-2015 development agenda. At IFLA she has focused on capacity building projects in countries spanning every region across the world. Prior to joining IFLA, she worked as a librarian in Australia across a wide range of library service areas including management, research and repository services, community information, and information literacy. She holds a BA in Political Science and History from the University of Western Australia, a Master of Information Management and MA (Research) both from Curtin University.

Read the interview "IFLA - Improving Access to Information to Support the Sustainable Development Goals" found in the AIMS Interviews section.

The scope of the AIMS Newsletter is to bring under the attention of the AIMS community recent news, events and achievements in the field of agricultural information management. If you have any contribution, suggestion, or need assistance with the newsletter, please contact us at [email protected] You received this message because you are subscribed to the AIMS Newsletter