Saturday, March 29, 2014

RDA 3rd Plenary Meeting - Day 2

Day 2 of the RDA 3rd Plenary Meeting started with new discussions and introductions between new partners.

Plenary Session
Among the interesting presentations/speeches, I specifically enjoyed the presentation from Dr. Tony Hey, Vice President of Microsoft Research Connections. He discussed about Open Data and Open Science, the use of the MS Tools for using Big Data for Modeling, Azure Cloud Services etc., providing a practical perspective to his ideas. You can view the recoding here.

Another really interesting and useful presentation came later from Beth Plale on the RDA structure in IG/WG and the work done into restructuring the RDA, filling the gaps and taking care of overlapping. I believe that there was a message in the right direction regarding the relation between the existing IGs/WGs and the re-organization that might need to be suggested by RDA. You can view the recording here.





Domain Repository IG
After the lunch break, I decided to participate in the Domain Repository IG meeting, aiming to share my experience with working with agricultural repositories during the last 5 years. The main point of the discussion was that domain-specific repositories may have specific needs related to curation, quality, management and other aspects that need to be taken into consideration. On the other hand, they share a lot of attributes, so it would be interesting to share experiences and best practices from various sectors.
A publication titled "Sustaining Domain Repositories for Digital Data: A White paper (2013)" (available as a PDF file here) could be used as a basis for further discussions and exchange of ideas.
The issue of connecting/linking different domain repositories was raised, especially in the cases where no controlled vocabularies are used for the classification and it was agreed that using langstrings instead of URIs is an important barrier towards linking different data sources.

Poster session
Thanks to a last-minute online application I did as soon as I reached Dublin, the help from Hilary Hanahoe and the kind support from the local organizers, I managed to arrange a last-minute placement for the agINFRA project posters (in fact our application was the last one to be accepted, as I was told) - it was not the best possible one, but taking the limitations into consideration, it was much better than nothing! In addition, we got to share the same space with the iMarine poster, which was really relevant.

Proudly posing next to the agINFRA posters


Wheat Data Interoperability Working Group
The meeting of the group was chaired by Esther Dzale (INRA) and Richard Fulss (CIMMYT)The meeting started with a short introduction of the participants and a presentation of the WG, including:
  • the objectives of the group;
  • the data types to be taken into consideration;
  • a list of the deliverables to be developed in the context of this WG;
  • adopters of the aforementioned deliverables etc.
The discussion was focused on the upcoming deliverables, like the online survey to be used for collecting the user requirements and the structure of the cookbook to be developed. In addition, practical issues, such as the funding options for the work done in the context of this group were discussed, along with ideas about the next face to face meeting. The discussions were followed by a demonstration of the CropScape platform by Dr. Liping Di from the George Mason University, USA. The platform is using satellite data and providing users with information about crop cultivation in specific areas of the US (county, state), size of each field, allocation of cultivations in a specific area and other crop stats. This was followed by another demonstration of the Global Agricultural Draught Monitoring and Forecasting System (GADMFS), again by Dr. Di. 



Further discussions
During the 2nd day of the meeting, I had the opportunity to be involved in discussions with the following:

  • David King (OU) about next tasks of the OU in agINFRA WP5 (related to data integration mainly from Mendeley and BHL);
  • Eamonn O Tuama (GBIF) about germplasm linked data, the excellent work that he has already done in the context of GBIF and the related stuff that he is currently working on;
  • Yde de Jong (University of Eastern Finland, ex-ViBRANT), about the Biodiversity Data Integration IG outcomes and their relation to our work in the Agricultural Data Interoperability IG and Wheat Data Interoperability WG;
  • Dimitris Koureas (NHM London), mostly about biodiversity data interoperability (but not limited to it) and Scratchpads
I am pretty sure that I have left some of the interesting conversations outside this list...

The day ended with a cash bar (time for a nice, cold Guiness!) and the social dinner, which was really classy and included some amazing pieces of traditional Irish music and dancing!

The special RDA menu!