5 Questions on the AgriOcean DSpace Community of Practice

This month the leader of the AgriOcean DSpace Community of Practice, Thembani Malapela, answers 5 questions about the use, benefits and challenges of this community.


Who is involved in the AgriOcean DSpace community and who is invited to participate?
The AgriOcean DSpace (AOD) community is made up of two types of members: the AOD team members in the AOD partnership, and the users who are interested in the tool. This latter group also includes some who have already installed the software. Individuals with an interest in the tool are invited to register, especially users who have downloaded and tested the tool.

This community further is a platform to get feedback from those using the tool which makes it possible to shape future developments of AgriOcean DSpace. It is worthwhile to point out that this community is also unique in that it should accommodate both communities from the AOD partnership: UNESCO's IOC Oceans community and the agricultural information management community.

What are the main developments within the community?
In the latest months we have seen an increase in the number of people downloading the tool. For example the 'Windows Easy Installer' version has been downloaded 166 times since its launch in March 2012. Not only that, we are also receiving e-mails from people who are in the process of installing the software. This shows that the tool is being appreciated and tested. In a related development, we are also seeing increasing membership registration requests on the AOD community of Practice. Another positive development has been the increased sharing of news by the AOD team in blogs, support materials and news of interest to the AOD Community.

What are the main advantages of being a member of the AgriOcean DSpace community?
The advantages of being an AOD community member is primarily that community users get the latest news about the developments. These might be blogs or news about technical developments and solutions about the latest bugs. Users also have the opportunity to poste questions or get support during their installation. Since the responses get shared, other users can also learn from each other and discover new possibilities in using the AOD software.

What are the challenges of the AgriOcean DSpace community?
AOD has been found largely attractive by many users in the south, where technical needs extend beyond the needs of the tool. The use of the community as a support mechanism has been successful in similar service areas elsewhere. In our case, some users have been rather timid in utilising the community as a means of sharing their challenges in the AOD installation process.

What is planned for the future?
The future of AOD looks promising, a number of exciting developments are in the pipeline. Firstly, the current version of AOD corresponds with the DSpace 1.7.1 (JSPUI) version, but in the not so distant future DSpace is expected to release DSpace 3.0. The AOD team is eagerly anticipating the migration of AOD to this new DSpace release. In a related development, work is currently underway on the upgrade of the Linux Beta installation. Secondly, an AOD installation comes with 2 controlled vocabularies – ASFA and AGROVOC – and current tests are being run on an ontology plug in to accommodate other ontologies. Thirdly, an online course for AOD is planned for users who might need capacity developments on the usage of the tool.