Thursday, May 30, 2013

Herbal.Mednet 2nd project meeting

The 2nd project meeting of the Herbal.Mednet project is taking place between 30th-31st of May at the premises of the Institute of Agricultural Sciences in Athens, Greece. I was for once more participating in the meeting (at least its first day) replacing my colleague Charalampos Thanopoulos who was participating at the 4th agINFRA project meeting in Budapest at the same time. Agro-Know is replacing EUMMENA in the consortium of the project and is responsible for various tasks, including the dissemination activities. 

The meeting provides the opportunity for the partners to meet and discuss the progress of the project and its outcomes, as well as to keep them updated of joint activities related to the project. My new colleague Andreas Drakos is the Agro-Know person mainly involved in the Herbal.Mednet project, bringing his tech-related background in the context of this project.

SERIFO presentation during the meeting
The 2nd Herbal.Mednet meeting provided me with the opportunity to see again my good friends and colleagues like Prof. G.V. Roman and Dr. Maria Toader from USAMVB, Tasos Choukalas from APIVITA and Victor Gonzalvez from Sociedad Espa├▒ola de Agricultura Ecol├│gica, as well as meet partners whom I haven't met in the past.

Enayat (UAH) presenting the agriMoodle concept
The first day of the meeting will include a 3-hour stakeholders' meeting including university teachers, PhD students and candidates, practitioners, professionals etc. in the field of medicinal and aromatic plants in Greece. This will allow the collection of an additional number of requirements which will drive the next steps of the project, as well as bring closer the various stakeholders involved in the area of medicinal and aromatic plants.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Talking about data silos and data pools

Yesterday I was invited to participate and present in a meeting about networking projects about climate change. It was a meeting organized in the context of the OLIVE CLIMA - LIFE11 ENV/GR/000942 project and the participants (about 40 people) were mainly Greek agricultural researchers working in the same or related LIFE-funded projects, as well as representatives from the Ministry of Rural Development and Food and the Ministry of Environment, Energy and Climate Change. The meeting was hosted at the lovely premises of the Forest Research Institute, at Ilisia, Athens, Greece located within a large hill park.

During the introduction to the meeting, my friend Dr. George Koubouris highlighted the fact that the audience consisted of researchers who are working in the same context, share the same or similar research interests but still they were not familiar with each other. This was one of the points that I would like to highlight in my presentation, focusing on efforts like the VOA3R portal for networking agricultural researchers and of course AgriVIVO. During the presentations made by the project partners, I also realized the need for a centralized repository to host all their research outcomes (at least the ones developed in the context of their projects) so that they could be more easily accessible by a wider audience.

George Koubouris presenting
 My presentation was based on existing material developed for the dissemination purposes of agINFRA and was focused on the need for moving from the existing data silos (e.g. the individual and not (inter)connected web sites of the projects hosting the project's outcomes) to data pools (which would provide the opportunity for these outcomes to be reached by a much wider audience). There was also a short demonstration of the VOA3R portal, as a mean for Greek researchers to find a virtual space for sharing, creating their own community/communities and finding a common ground to for further collaboration. Unfortunately it had to be really short, it was the last one in the programme and there was already a significant delay in the original schedule.
The advantages of having the last presentation; your last slide remains there for longer!
The participants seemed to be interested in the contents of the presentation, as it was pointing exactly to their needs; I expect that to happen in each agINFRA presentation anyway, as the project is really promising. During the round table session, which was the last part of the meeting, agINFRA was proposed as the mean that they could use for making their collection publicly available in case they are interested. Specific questions were raised, mainly related to the licenses and rights that should be used for sharing their research outcomes, so CC Licenses as well as the existence of Data Exchange Agreements and Memorandi of Understanding.
Presenting the agINFRA approach on data pools

Thursday, May 23, 2013

The new Organic.Edunet Web portal is coming soon!

Well, it seems that the significantly revised version of the Organic.Edunet Web portal will be available in the next days, Anyone visiting the portal at http://www.organic-edunet.eu receives the following screen:

This leaves me anxious to see more!
I have a special connection with Organic.Edunet, as it was the first EU project that I was involved in (back in 2008, as a member of the AUA team) and my opportunity to join this amazing world of EU projects, working with metadata, digital collections/repositories, educational resources and training curricula, Web 2.0 tools etc. Now I am still involved in Organic.Edunet through my involvement in the Organic.Lingua project, which brings a lot of fresh stuff (both collections and new functionalities in the portal) to Organic.Edunet.

I have to admit that I have seen some mock-ups of the new portal, as well as a testing environment with the new interface, but there's nothing like the real thing! So let's wait for a couple of days before we see the revised version of the portal. :-)

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

VOA3R 7th project meeting - Joint session with SemaGrow

Just 15 days before its official end, VOA3R held its 7th and last project meeting at the FAO Headquarters in Rome, Italy between 14 & 15 of May 2013. As usually, all Work Packages were discussed in terms of their status (including each one of the individual pending deliverables) and actions to be taken by the end of the project were also defined and discussed. Everything should be ready before the 2nd (and last) Review Meeting of the project, which will be held on July 18th, 2013 at Brussels, Belgium.

Not only has VOA3R a revised website, but there have been revisions in the VOA3R portal as well, including a change in the URL. The new one is much easier to remember: http://www.voa3r.org!
Among the revisions in the portal the major ones are related to the improvement / refinement of the search mechanisms, as well as bug fixes and usability issues.

I also had the opportunity to participate in the first day of the SemaGrow project meeting on Monday morning, which took place at the premises of Tor Vergata University, quite far from the center of Rome - it was expensive reaching that and tricky reaching the center of Rome after the end of the meeting. I had the opportunity to meet colleagues from UAH (Miguel-Angel and Jaakko), NCSR (Pythagoras) and of course meet new people as always, like Vangelis and Caterina. I was mainly interested in the data sources for this project, as this is a task that I am closely following and contributing to.


SemaGrow held a joint session with VOA3R partners, during which both presentations and interactive sessions took place. During this interactive session we had the chance to provide some ideas for enhancing the tools and services provided by VOA3R. This session also provided me with a unique opportunity to get to meet +Stefano Anibaldi for the first time, after spending hours in Flash and Skype meetings and exchanging numerous emails about various topics - he is always an excellent source of useful information and always willing to help!

This was my first time in Rome (3rd time in Italy though, after my participation in project related events at Teramo and Pollenzo) and I really enjoyed that. I stayed at a lovely B&B near Termini station, so I was only 3 stops away from the meeting place. We also enjoyed a nice traditional Italian pizza at a nice traditional place and had the opportunity to discuss informally with the project partners.