Between 14-15 of January 2015 we had two interesting people visiting Agro-Know: Laura Meggiolaro from Land Portal and Peter Mason from the Institute of Development Studies. The aim of their visit was to get to know the Agro-Know team better (this goes especially to Laura, since Agro-Know is already working on the new version of the Land Portal Library Module) and also to explore possibilities of further collaboration.
Laura is the coordinator of the Land Portal Partnership and our first contact was made during the 1st CIARD/GODAN Consultation meeting, when we had some initial discussions about the possibility to implement semantic web technologies in the Land Portal.
On the other hand, Peter is a Web Applications Developer at the Institute of Development Studies as well as the Technical Leader of the Oriel Open Knowledge Hub Project, which was launched on the 10th of October, 2014. You can read more about the project here (PDF).
Both of them are not only interested but actually working on open data and facilitating/opening up access to data, so it was obvious that we had some common ground to discuss. During the visit we discussed how open data can empower communities that work on land and development topics. We agreed that it is important to set up an infrastructure that will transfer the knowledge from the central nodes such as the Land Portal to local communities that are working in specific hot topics (e.g. family farming) and in specific geographical areas. We brainstormed about how such transfer should be realised and how state of the art tools and technologies (e.g. open data, linked data, semantic web technologies) could be used towards that direction.
The Agro-Know team presented the FAO AGRIS approach, workflows and our experiences from working with such a large network of content providers. It was a really interesting and fruitful discussion. Thanks Laura and Peter for that!
New episodes will follow on how the content scope of knowledge hubs such as the Land Portal and the Global Open Knowledge Hub can be extended and what kind of tools could support the content producers in order to contribute their content descriptions (metadata) in an easy and friendly way to these hubs. We agreed to join forces on creating the first versions of modules for the most popular Content Management Systems such as Drupal to facilitate the content annotation and contribution of the content descriptions.
In addition to that, we all agree on the importance of having a reference taxonomy such as the AGROVOC multilingual thesaurus to which all the land and development taxonomies developed by local communities should be mapped. These linked taxonomies will enable the semantic interoperability and will facilitate the content discovery. The aforementioned tools for the content providers should allow the annotation either with AGROVOC or some of the taxonomies that are mapped to AGROVOC or other linked taxonomies. Finally, we pointed out that a capacity building component for local communities and content providers is also very important and could be realised through a number of workshops and webinars.