Content Management Task Force
The Content Management Task Force (CMTF) addresses priority actions identified by the 2005 IISAST Expert Consultation in the field of content management and information sharing. The Terms of Reference define the mode of operation and the timeline for each of these activities.
The three main areas of work of the CMTF (see ToRs below) are the development and promotion of:
- methodologies and tools for Open Access repositories in the field of agriculture (in a broad sense)
- common standards and protocols for agricultural information exchange
- common services to access partners’ distributed information
Means of collaboration and communication
There are many communities working in the areas covered by the CMTF and many of them already have their own channels of communication.
The CMTF is using the AIMS community platform to discuss and collaborate. The group is private for the moment: those who want to participate can register at http://aims.fao.org/user/register and then request membership in the group by sending their username to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Note: This document was prepared for discussion with the convenors of the CMTF. The group of convenors will consolidate these terms and they will guide their work. This draft is distributed to clarify which activities the convenors are invited to contribute to. For reference there is a note on previous terms and ensuing activities of the CMTF
The work of the CMTF is guided by the principles as they are laid down in the CIARD Manifesto. Its task is specifically to facilitate the implementation of the principles under the heading “Communicate Content”:
- We create, collect, and make information and data available in accordance with appropriate international and sector standards, and with due attention to proper quality assurance.
- We make public domain information resulting from research publicly available and accessible through repositories and other services, encouraging the use and re-use of our outputs.
- We aim to build open information systems and use open applications that increase the availability and accessibility of the information we provide.
- As far as possible and according to specific demands, we customize and promote information to specific audiences and purposes, increasing its applicability and potential uptake.
- We assure that our data and information of long term value are preserved and remain accessible for current and future generations. The CMTF aims at influencing the behaviour of organizations that subscribe to the CIARD principles and one of the principles that will guide its mode of operation is:
- Recognizing that research and development is undertaken by various organizations and institutions with their own products, services, and audiences, we respect the roles of international, regional and national actors as we seek to build complementary activities.
1.2 Way of working
We have learned in the previous period that there is sufficient good will to cooperate between organizations in our sector. However we found that progress was limited by the constraints to what they can afford on a voluntary basis. Therefore convenors will be instated to take the work further. Convenors are experienced members of the community who receive a partial remuneration to take responsibility for specific areas of work. Each convenor will pay specific attention to one of the areas of intervention below (possibly in collaboration with other convenors) and will develop plans to implement actions in those areas. They will prepare the discussions at the next expert consultation in these specific areas. Progress will be discussed at virtual meetings of the convenors. One face-to-face meeting is foreseen where the CMTF will communicate its work with the wider community.
1.3 Areas of Intervention
The CMTF will address the following areas of intervention. Below we describe specific actions that the convenors will develop in these areas. Together with communities of practice they will also further elaborate and formulate best practices and recommendations to be included in the checklist of the CIARD manifesto.
1.3.1 01 Standards
As indicated in Annex 1 a number of initiatives to develop information exchange standards have been developed under the previous TOR of the CMTF. The challenge at this stage is to keep the efforts going and meanwhile engaging the larger community and increase the uptake of standards.
- Write a paper to discuss, evaluate and demonstrate the benefits of specific standards, with a specific regard to data exchanges schemas (Application Profiles) and commons Vocabularies. What can we accomplish that we can not accomplish without them?
- Develop guidelines for a more transparent process for the development and maintenance of sector-specific standards.
- Design a campaign for the wider uptake and use of the AGEvents Application Profile to foster the AgriFeeds application
1.3.2 02 Tools
The IISAST meeting September 2007 identified ‘tools’ as an area of work that may deserve more attention. From the meeting report:
"In the area of tools for information management, participants recognized the need for more sharing of knowledge about local institutional requirements in order to show the potential value of making available generic applications or system tools, or even the development of Starter kits of open source software for aspects of information content and knowledgemanagement."
The work of the CMTF on tools will concentrate on applications where an instance of a piece of software needs to be installed. There are many relevant “Web2.0” tools that do not require a local installation but there are other communities of practice that deal with them (like the groups working to maintain the CGIAR KS Toolkit). If the CMTF feels that there are specific areas where there are Web2.0 tools that need more attention it should work through these communities. The aim will be to develop active communities of practice that work with a tool or a group of tools. If lists of recommended tools or even “starter kits” are to be produced they should be produced and maintained by active communities that can support them. The tools should generally speaking be relevant for information exchange for CIARD actions. Annex 2 lists a number of specific areas of application and examples of tools to be considered.
- A basic directory structure, in which CIARD partners can describe and document tools
- An evaluation of the usefulness of Web20 tools in the CIARD working area against 'traditional' tools
1.3.3 03 Services
It is not CIARD’s role to develop new services. The CMTF will promote that the following principles from the CIARD manifesto will be applied in practice:
- We work together and adopt common principles and standards to ensure that our research information systems add value to others in the overall knowledge system.
- We are devising research information systems around the needs and demands of people and institutions and we exploit technologies to enable development uses.
- We document and share openly our experiences, choices, training materials, and results with the operation of information systems, so others can build on them.
- A paper on best practices at implementing services and integrating new technologies like Web2.0 capabilities. Important areas for best practices are for example preservation and the prevention of ‘link-rot’.
- A paper on overlapping services operating in – what seems at least to the outside world as – the same area of application. the CMTF will promote coherence by investigating the possibilities of collaboration and/or a clear division of labour. Examples of such seemingly overlapping services are the feedaggregators ‘Agrifeeds’ and ‘News4dev’, and the harvesting efforts by FAO/AGRIS and AgNIC/Agoai
- A paper describing the architecture of the CIARD webring and listing the existing services and their interactions
1.3.4 04 Open Access
In the area of open access specific tools (i.e. OAI-PMH data providers and harvesters) are often applied. For specific actions to facilitate the use of these tools the “open access group” will collaborate with the “ tools” group. Open access requires more than the implementation of standards and tools. The CMTF will look for ways to help make repositories work by it is important to
- Collecting and distributing best practices and workflows to embed institutional and thematic repositories n the work of organizations and networks.
- Promoting ways to make more content available by promoting both the “gold route” as the “green route” (i.e. making e-prints of copyrighted materials available as much as the publisher’s copyright rules allow)
- exploring pathways to get materials in repositories exposed in other information systems (sitemaps for search engines, RSS-feeds etc)
- Helping formulating copyright policies and open access statements