Newsletter no. 6, November 2011

Agricultural Information Management Standards (AIMS)
no. 6, November 2011

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AIMS in Action


Monthly Spotlight

AgriOcean DSpace. SCOR/IODE/MBLWHOI Library Workshop on Data Publication

AGROVOC. Workshop for editors from the South and Southeast Asian region

AMS.  Addition of links to TECA, Technologies and practices for small agricultural producers in FAO Country Profiles

Open Access. Results of the E-LIS Logo Contest

OpenAGRIS. New AGRIS RDF with records from 2005 to 2011

More at Communities

Upcoming Events

France. WWW2012

Australia. The Seventh Australasian Ontology Workshop

Germany. SWIB11

Germany. 3rd IC3K

United Kingdom. 7th IDCC


More at Events Service


agINFRA: a data infrastructure to support agricultural scientific communities

Sharing research data is “an intricate and difficult problem” (Borgman, 2011, JASIST). There is relatively little sharing taking place and few standards for giving data the required computational semantics to make sharing an automated process. Yet, reusing data is one of the core principles of science and poses a major concern for scientists and policy makers alike.

To help address this challenge for agricultural scientific communities, FAO have begun to work with a team of eleven global partners to deliver a new Innovative Integrated Infrastructure Initiative (I3) – agINFRA - that will remove existing obstacles concerning sharing, processing and accessing scientific information and data in agriculture, as well as improve the preparedness of agricultural scientific communities to face, manage and exploit the ever-increasing abundance of multi-disciplinary data that is available to support agricultural research.

The inaugural agINFRA project meeting took place in Rome between the 8th and 10th November, 2011, hosted by FAO. A series of presentations and interactive workshops from the consortium of world-leading scientific and technical research institutes, specialist SMES, agricultural enterprises and NGOs enabled the Team to begin the design and development process for creating the innovative scientific data infrastructure. The project meeting highlighted the wide variety of agricultural databases and data types that would need to be supported by the infrastructure, the types of users that would access the data and the service components that would facilitate quicker and easier data generation, certification, curation, annotation, navigation and management. agINFRA’s next phase involves undertaking user needs research to develop content and technical requirements.



NAL Thesaurus now available as Linked Open Data

The National Agricultural Library's Agricultural Thesaurus (NALT) is now available as Linked Open Data. The NALT, which contains more than 82,000 terms, is primarily used for indexing and for improving the retrieval of agricultural information, including the supporting biological, physical and social sciences. With the NALT's RDF/SKOS files updated with persistent URIs, Web developers can now use the NALT to specify relationships between isolated data silos, making research into agricultural topics more productive.

The Library of Congress releases plan for new bibliographic framework for the 21st century

The Library of Congress (LC) released for dissemination, sharing, and feedback the initial plan for a new Bibliographic Framework that will serve the library community and related communities well into the future. LC developed the plan in collaboration with librarians, standards experts, and technologists based on the outcome of the LC Working Group of the Future of Bibliographic Control:

UNESCO launches Global Open Access Portal

The Global Open Access Portal (GOAP), aiming at presenting a top level view of Open Access to scientific information, was launched at a special side event organized during the UNESCO General Conference, on Tuesday 1 November 2011, at Paris Headquarters. The portal has country reports from over 148 countries with weblinks to over 2,000 initiatives/projects in Member States.

EIFL’s Public Library Innovation Programme (PLIP) commissioned perception study

EIFL’s PLIP commissioned a research study conducted by TNS RMS East Africa that explored perceptions of public libraries in Africa among different stakeholders, including people who use libraries and people who do not; government decision-makers, librarians and library officials. The research was conducted from December 2010 to July 2011 in six African countries: Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe.

More news at Of Interest

5 Questions in 5 Minutes with Hugo Besemer


Who are the users of AIMS and what do they think about agricultural information management standards? In this section AIMS users from around the world answer five questions on the benefits and use of the AIMS website.

Tell us something about yourself... what is your background and role in the organization you are working for?
Sometimes to start my bio saying that I wrote my first AGRIS input manual with a pen. But by training I am an agricultural entomologist, but I have been involved all my working life with agricultural information one way or the other. With Wageningen and Research Centre in the Netherland as an information person, amongst other things for the documentation network, the vocational education system and teaching information literacy. Internationally as a consultant, working with for example CABI, CGIAR, and for FAO on IMARK and CIARD.

How did you get in contact with AIMS?
I was nearby when its conception took place, but I want to plead innocence, I am not its father. Since 2000 we had a sequence of meetings that formed the prelude to the CIARD initiative. At some point in that process, around 2005, several people realised that the standard setting process needed an organisational home. AIMS became just that home.

What is your opinion on AIMS?
There is a lot of useful stuff there. But recently I met several people who were not aware of it while they could find there several things that are relevant for what they wanted to do. So in one hand there is a good resource, on the other hand AIMS can potentially engage with a much wider community than it reaches right now.

According to you, what is the most important benefit that AIMS provides to the agricultural information management community?
May I propose two potential benefits, as I can not choose which I find most important? AIMS is, and become still more, the home for sector specific standard setting work. And it may be the place where a wider group can go if they need information about those standards.

How do you think that information management standards can contribute to agricultural research for development?
Like any other sector we attempt to create new information systems, and some do not survive, and remain empty containers. In a sense that is all right: we are trying to find our way as information professionals in a still rather new environment with many new opportunities. You’ll never know what works if you do not try. But we should not spend more effort than necessary setting up the container. Using standards is a way to make use of the efforts that others did to conceptualize how data structures and systems can be set up. And most of the time we want to set up things in such a way that we can exchange information with others. AIMS can be helpful in that process, and could be still more helpful if it would guide people better in this confusing world of standards in different degrees of maturity. If we could combine the pedagogic approach developed for IMARK with the richness of the AIS resource, and demystify more of the jargon, that would really be a step forward.

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]

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