27 August 2008

Web 2.0 and agricultural research information systems

On 25 August, many participants at the World Conference on Agricultural Information and IT joined the IAALD-organised session on information and agricultural research.

Web 2.0 was a thread in several of the presentations:
Chris Addison introduced R4D (www.research4development.info) – the development research dissemination service of the UK Department for International Development (DFID) and how it is evolving “from a portal to a service.” In the new service, various web 2.0 tools are used to optimized research content so it can travel and be subscribed to. His 5 take away messages:
    1. turn websites into services;
    2. use web2 as a ‘high street’ where the various shops help promote content;
    3. ensure that content is featured on other sites and services;
    4. check how the content is used, and become a user of your own service;
    5. retain a focus on traditional face to face and other dissemination formats.
See Gauri Salokhe’s blog post; View his presentation.

Luz Marina Alvare of IFPRI continued the web 2.0 focus, elaborating on the practical “struggle that organizations like ours go through” to make research information more accessible

From her base in IFPRI’s Library and KM Unit, she is moving the library service in new directions: where research outputs are tagged and made globally accessible, and where “our stuff” is made available in places (on and off the web) where others go. The goal is for IFPRI messages to be in the right places at the right times.

Luz Marina elaborates on the generation effects on information using behaviour:

Takanori Hayashi from Japan’s Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Information Technology Center explained how they have started to share research information using RSS feeds.

He explained how the library services are shifting from “waiting for users to access” to a more “offensive” – or proactive – approach. Hayashi sees RSS as an ‘offensive’ user service that pushes information direct to user desktops. The online library catalogue is becoming an “xml data providing system” where information is made available “anywhere, anytime, anyway.”

Finally, Valerie Pesce from the Global Forum on Agricultural Research introduced an ‘ARD Web ring’ – a "voluntary coalition of web spaces that share information related to agricultural research and innovation for development."

See more information from the Japan 2008 Congress

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