14 November 2008

Making our aginfo permanently accessible?

In Yesterday's small meeting in Wageningen, we discussed ways to make information more accessible.

What were some take away messages from the presentations and discussion?

1. A fundamental challenge is for each organization to provide or guarantee permanent access to their own outputs, the publicly funded ones at least. When URL’s change, we can of course search for their new locations. But isn’t there a responsibility of ‘publishers’ to give their content permanent addresses? The model where WUR provides a de facto permanent national archive of Dutch agricultural outputs – through its e-store - is perhaps interesting to explore elsewhere. Even as organizations re-vamp their web sites, moving and even deleting outputs, they all remain accessible in one reliable location.

2. Even in this small group, there were lots of different ways to make information more accessible, with varying levels of success, as well as questions posed and answered. Koen Beelen suggested we need to use a ‘combination of tricks’; there’s probably also a relatively standard ‘recipe’ out there that we can all use, and contribute to. We need to document the concrete ‘pathways to accessibility’ that work, understanding why, and adapting and replicating them on a large scale. CIARD perhaps provides a framework for some of this.

3. Beyond policies, it seems even the choice of publishing format is important. PDF is popular but needs to be opened to allow the content to be extracted/searched. HTML is good for all bandwidths. Some formats are more open and permanent than others.

4. These issues will be discussed again in a session at the CGIAR annual meetings in Mozambique at the end of November. Looking further forward, both the IAALD Africa Chapter and AIBDA plan to discuss ‘opening access’ strategies and issues at their meetings in Ghana and Peru in 2009. Good opportunities to advance the agenda.

More from the 13 November meeting

by Peter Ballantyne

Labels: , , , , , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home