Organic Agriculture in Budapest

I was in Budapest on 16th and 17th September, presenting at the final conference of the Organic.Edunet project – International Conference on IT Enhanced Organic, Agro-Ecological and Environmental Education. This was a three year EU funded project to develop a multi-lingual, federated repository of e-learning materials in organic agriculture and agro-ecology. It also developed and implemented scenarios for use of the materials in schools and universities in some of the partner countries.

Presentation on OA and RSP

It was a packed and varied programme with presentations about advances in organic agriculture, educational and e-learning initiatives, repositories and information technologies. It was fascinating to hear about the challenges of providing education in an agricultural context, particularly in the developing world. Also, I learnt some interesting facts such as 20% of Romania’s organic production is honey!

My presentation was part of a session on Open Access Agricultural Repositories and I spoke about Open Access in the United Kingdom and of course about the RSP. I shared the platform with colleagues from the University of Alcala, Spain who outlined their proposals for broadening the scope of open sharing. They referenced the CERIF schema and are developing a model which combines ontologies of research work with an open linked data approach. The third presentation from the Technological Educational Institute of Athens described the VOA3R Project which is developing a platform which aims to re-use existing metadata and semantics technology to retrieve open content and data. The final speaker from FAO described their work in developing metadata standards and controlled vocabularies and their work with repositories such as DSpace. They encourage the use of Linked Data and this theme was further developed in a workshop later in the day.

It was a stimulating (if exhausting) two days and we also had time for social events including a dinner in the very grand Hungarian Academy of Sciences, serenaded by traditional folk musicians and served by staff in white gloves. The view from the window looking out onto the Danube and the Palace Hill on the Buda side was beautiful. And it had the biggest internal doors I’ve ever come across – I had to reach up for the door handles! I really valued the opportunity to spread the word about OA in the UK and to meet up with project colleagues I’d worked with over three years and count as friends as much as co-partners.