21 October 2005

FAO convenes expert consultation on international information systems for agriculture

From 19 to 21 October 2005, FAO joined with the CGIAR, CTA, GFAR and INASP in organising an Expert Consultation on 'International Information Systems for Agricultural Science and Technology: Review of Progress and Prospects.' The goal of the meeting was to "develop coherence in international information systems for agricultural science and technology." The consultation is linked to an FAO-led coherence in agricultural information initiative.

Participants explored the global agricultural information management scene, investigating strengths and weaknesses of national, regional and international information networks. The metaphor of an onion was used to characterize the various networks - with a network's goals, strategies, and outcomes at the centre of the onion. The central core was surrounded by areas like partnerships, infrastructure, content, and capacity building; the outer skin of this network onion comprised advocacy.

Participants discussed the issues of the meeting in two tracks - the first dealt with 'institutional' issues like advocacy, capacity building and content. The second track looked at more technical issues and came up with actions related to distributed semantic searching across open archives, inventories of community directories and databases, collaboration in making news and events information more accessible and work on multilingual agricultural subject vocabularies.

In the final session, participating organisations committed themselves to contribute to actions on advocacy, capacity building, and content.


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