Friday, October 21, 2011

Presenting the VOA3R platform in Greece

A partial view of the Workshop's audience
(photo by Maritina Stavrakaki) 
Today I was invited to make a short presentation about the VOA3R project at the "1st Scientific National Workshop about Traditional Varieties" organized at the Agricultural University of Athens, with the Lab of Viticulture being one of the organizers. There must have been more than 60 people in the room during the whole Workshop, mostly agricultural researchers from public institutes, individual agronomists and representatives from the Greek Ministry of Rural Development and Food.
vprot presenting VOA3R project
(photo by Maritina Stavrakaki) 
Even though my presentation was not initially planned, we managed to allocate 10 minutes in the already packed program of the workshop. My presentation consisted of only 10-11 slides, mostly focusing on the VOA3R platform and its usefulness for the specific audience. I also emphasized the option to have the GRNET team create digital repositories for any of the participating research institutes, which could be populated by the researchers and harvested at a later stage, in order to provide access to these research publications through the VOA3R platform. Despite the lack of time and my short presentation, there was some interest about the platform and the possibility of participation from the audience. I was really sorry that I didn't have more time to demonstrate the VOA3R platform real-time and instead I was limited to showing a couple of screenshots but I suppose that it was better than nothing. A video of my short presentation can be found below (it's in Greek - sorry!):

It would be great to see a community of Greek agricultural researchers in VOA3R platform, especially those working on the preservation of local/traditional plant species/varieties... it seems that there is a significant amount of scientific and research outcomes published in Greek national or even regional journals/magazines, with limited impact on the wider research and scholar community. I consider this to be a pity, since these outcomes could be really useful to researchers working in the same areas from all over the world. VOA3R platform could be the solution to providing the tool that could make these research outcomes available to the whole research community of this specific area...

Monday, October 17, 2011

A pleasant surprise!

Today my Agro-Know colleagues held a really pleasant surprise for me: Even though it has almost been a month since my b-day, they were kind enough to dig in my wish list and order for me one of my favorite items in there: A dAPRO Digital Artist Backpack straight from dA! I could not believe my eyes when I opened the box and saw the backpack real!
dAPRO Digital Artist Backpack

I am not an artist, but still believe that this bag will be my loyal companion from now on. What I love in this bag is the fact that is looks much more stylish and professional than the bag I currently own. I would love to have it by me during e.g. a project meeting or on board during a business trip. It also feels high-quality and durable. It features a number of useful pockets, both inner and outer and it is more than enough to carry around my netbook/laptop with the power adapter, my notepad, external HD and other gadgets, along with my wallet, ID and other small things I like to have with me. A really useful addition is a water-proof cover that is hidden at the bottom of the backpack.

dA Nomad backpack
Even though is is not as spacious as my current backpack, it is stylish, comfortable and will probably make me reconsider the amount of stuff I carry with me daily. Having the advantage of not carrying my laptop with me, this leaves me with additional space for carrying other stuff in the big pocket, like books and notepads. After all, if and when my current backpack wears off, I plan to get a dA Nomad backpack: It doesn't look that professional but it's also stylish and looks ideal for daily commuting and carrying all this stuff around daily. I am just not sure whether it may be too big for daily use...but I will have to give it a try!

I just realized that I am a sucker for specific items, like backpacks, battery chargers (I have more than I will ever need), torches/flashlights, smartphones, tablets (not having one yet but probably in the near future!) etc.

I would like to say a big "Thank you!" to all my colleagues for organizing this surprise and for giving me the opportunity to get my hands in this wonderful backpack. I feel so lucky to be working among these wonderful people!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

VOA3R 4th project meeting

Having breakfast at Movenpick Hotel
The meeting is hosted in Izmir, Turkey collocating with the MTSR 2011 Conference in the premises of the Yasar University. The room provided for the meeting looks like a cinema hall, being really comfortable and suitable for presentations at the same time. However, the lack of power outlets created a significant problem regarding the charging of laptops. This was an issue, since the use of laptops was really necessary in some sessions.

It seems that there were a lot of open issues to discuss, including the progress of the tasks and the next steps of the WP5 - Content Population, to which more than half a day was dedicated. The WP5 session was really interesting as it contained presentations on the content part as well as on the more technical part (e.g. the presentation of the VOA3R metadata AP), along with a special presentation by Nikos Palavitsinis from GRNET, who shared his experience on the Metadata Quality Evaluation during the Organic.Edunet project.

VOA3R Family Photo. Izmir, 12/10/2011
In addition, on Wednesday evening the VOA3R Controlled experiment on reviewing lifecycle services will be realized, as the papers submitted to both the 4th International Workshop on Metadata and Semantics for Agriculture, Food and Environment and the VOA3R Controlled experiment will be presented by the authors. I have already dedicated a lot of time and effort to this experiment so I really hope that everything will be ok in the end and the feedback received will be more than adequate.

UPDATE: The controlled experiment went pretty well, despite the difficulties. Almost all papers were presented (I had to make my presentation on the next day) but the hardest part will be to get some valuable feedback about the process followed in this experiment, from both the authors and the participants. In addition, since some of the presentations took longer than expected, so I had to reallocate my presentation to the session of the next morning, just before flying back to Athens! 

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Green Ideas 2011

According to me, Green Ideas 2011 was a big success: People from all over the world (e.g. USA, South Africa, India and various EU countries) met in the small, medieval and rural village of Mesta in Chios island, Greece and some amazing things happened!

Some organizations (Agro-Know, Greek Research & Technology Network & Ellinogermaniki Agogi) were responsible for the organization of the event, while a number of EU projects (Organic.Balkanet, I.S.L.E., Rural Inclusion, VOA3R and others) were sponsoring and actively participating in it. The ISKME team presented the Action Collab, to which all participants contributed and enjoyed themselves!

The final outcomes of this really innovative method were the Slidea & Green Dream Team, which may seem a little bit crazy but still they could be sustainable! The Green Ideas 2011 event has a Facebook group as well as a Twitter hashtag #Greenideas2011.