Working on a data-powered product for the agri-food sector


As you may have already noticed, we are currently working on a data-powered product for the agri-food sector. Indeed, a number of people from the Agro-Know team have joined forces and are in the process of defining the specs and a first draft of a web-based solution that will allow users to better manage and disseminate their agri-food data. To be more precise, what we are currently working on is an all-in-one solution that will allow people working with open agri-food data to:

  • request (and actually receive!) consultation on opening up their data based on any open data management policy. This is really useful in several cases, including the new Horizon2020 projects, that need to clearly define an open access (and in some case an open data management) plan for the outcomes of their projects;
  • create a micro-site that will provide an easy to use user interface (including search & filtering options) to people managing agri-food metadata & data. Just imagine the case of e.g. a laboratory that wants to open up their data and combine them with external ones but does not have the capacity (both technical and financial) to do so;
  • enhance their existing website with quality metadata & data from a list of selected, verified sources as well (virtually) any given (meta)data source. This applies to several research institutes and other research organizations, that already have a website but still need to disseminate their e.g. publications and data and combine their data with quality ones from external sources;
  • manage a number of data-powered micro-sites through an easy to use administration panel. This might be really handy when you need to manage multiple microsites for your projects and you have trouble doing so now.

The solution aims to allow the aggregation of agri-food information from heterogeneous sources and is built on open-source software. It makes use of state-of-the-art technology and is powered by the Agro-Know Data Framework. It was built after collecting and analyzing requirements from various stakeholders and potential users of this solution, such as researchers, information & knowledge managers, project managers etc., so people who actually have data-related problems and need to find solutions to them as soon as possible. This led us to the development of individual workflows for each case and the collection of additional requirements related to the user interface and usability of the product. Add the experience of the team members regarding open access/open data policies, data & metadata management as well as customer relationships management to the equation and it seems that we have a promising package in our hands, ready to serve the world!

So where do we stand right now? We have been working on several aspects of the product (at a technical, design, management and methodological level), which is still in alpha version and goes through internal testing and improving cycles. For the last months we have been working on the branding (including logos and registering the trademark), the design of the landing page (including the texts), the workflows for accepting and managing requests and providing the outcomes (on time!) as well as the actual functionalities of the product, which are heavily based on metadata aggregation for various heterogeneous data sources. This is a lot of work and sometimes it is depended on several factors, such as the availability not only of the team members but also of the external collaborators who help us with specific aspects of the work. To sum up, we currently have an early prototype of the product, so this post is only a teaser.


Last Friday (16/1/2015) we had the opportunity to present our work to the Board of Agro-Know Directors (aka the Exec team). Slides were prepared through the week, some issues were solved (even at the last minute), presentations were split among the team members and during the 6-hour long presentation (session, to be more precise), we managed not only to present most aspects of our work but also to receive some substantial feedback that will help us improve the services offered, fix some issues and take the next steps.

Stem team

The team during the presentation

The question is: do YOU have any kind of problems related to the management/discovery of your agri-food related data and if so, would you like to have a discussion with our experts for sharing your experiences and issues? If so, just leave a comment below this post and we will contact you ASAP.

The better we understand your problems, the better we will be able to serve you 🙂

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