The new Organic.Edunet Web portal is up! Visit, join and enjoy!
The portal has over eleven repositories, eleven thousand resources, and over five thousand six hundred registered users. The user interface is available in seventeen languages with resources available in twelve languages.
Organic.Lingua Pilot Trials
A series of engaging pilot trials were set up for the new Organic.Edunet Portal and the Agricultural Learning Repository tool used for content population.
Pilot trials were hosted by Miksike in Alušta (Crimea), Cukurova University in Adana (Turkey), INRA in Seillac (France), Birmingham City University and the University of Alcala in Birmingham (UK) in April, May and June this year and amassed a buzzing hive of dynamic attendees including, teachers, students, IT technicians, agro-engineers, lecturers, researchers, information and knowledge managers and metadata experts. The events promoted the work of Organic Lingua’s portal, galvanised interest and gathered feedback. The re-designed portal, its new improved features and the AgLR tool were presented and tested.
Feedback drawn from these trials included addressing the portal’s multilingual components and its implementation, the homepage, the search engine and filter block and search options, with problems and challenges addressed and effective solutions hatched. Usability analysis from a general public perspective via enlightening interviews and assembled focus groups gathered laudatory comments on the new interface and its navigable accessibility and aesthetic look. Moreover, remote usability testing was also carried out, with feedback on the technique when evaluating the visibility of the portal.
A school on ‘Novel Agricultural Business on Medicinal and Aromatic Plants’ took place in sunlit Crete, Greece on the 26th to the 28th of June 2013. Lively and interactive hands on sessions with informative lectures on specific web and social media tools encouraged attendees (agronomists, trainers, experts and professionals in the agricultural sector) to be spectators and participants. The school was a great opportunity for Organic.Lingua to present the improved Organic.Edunet portal to a number of agricultural experts and to run a pilot trial. The trainees were asked to use the portal in order to find resources in their area of expertise and it was a great chance to gather additional feedback. More information about the school can be found here.
Organic Lingua 2nd Review Meeting
The Organic.Lingua team met on the 23rd and 24th of April 2013 in Luxembourg for the second year review of the project by the European Commission.
The reviewers received with positivity and interest the presentations of the team. Particular attention was drawn to the pioneering development of the agricultural ‘ontology’ which allows accurate translation of a huge range of specialist terms into a wide selection of languages. The reviewers were given a preview of the fully functioning Organic.Lingua system in action and helping to accomplish a range of research tasks linked to the Organic.Edunet portal. The meeting confirmed that the Organic.Lingua team has a fruitful and productive second year and are ready to take the project into the final year with exciting developments to unveil to Europe’s agricultural research and learning communities.
Organic Lingua 5th Project Meeting
Global network on organic science announced at Rio+20
Recently this June it was revealed that an emerging global network was be announced at Rio+20 to address organic science and farming practices. Rio+20 is a much celebrated global UN conference focused on sustainable development, which already commenced on the 20th of June and ended on the 22nd of June 2013. This network has materialised from the ongoing battles between organic agriculture researchers and relevent decision makers. The Global Organic Research Network (IGORN) created by the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements will showcase the best practices of organic farming, provide insightful advice and consult stakeholders attending the conference, in the hope that they will attract suitable funders for this sector which is experiencing a remarkable transfiguration in scientific development. This move is a result of the enforcement failures of The Organic Research Centres Alliance (ORCA) initiated in 2009, which was formed to establish a farming centre coordinated by the Consortium of International Agriculture Research Centres (CGIAR). Contrastingly, what the new network is hoping to address is soil health, holistic approaches to agriculture and the long term visible challenges of food security.
The rhetoric behind the network is to ensure food security is upheld, that production of crops is resourceful and economical and that farmers working in regions exposed to environmental risk have their welfare protected. A strategy of environmental stewarship is thus imposed, the idea that the network will ethically protect the interest of the human population and the ecosystems at large.
The global network is of importance to Organic Lingua as it focuses on promoting research into organic farming developments and addresses the challenges of food insecurity, climate change and poverty in the developing world. For more information please see here.
Green Ideas 2013
The annual Green Ideas workshop and conference was held in Crete, Greece, from the 28th to the 30th of June 2013. The event was hosted by The Natural History Museum of Crete and organised by Agro-Know Technologies. Organic.Lingua and agINFRA were the main supporters of the Green Ideas event, together with Natural Europe, Open Discovery Space and Herbal Mednet projects. The main aim of the series of interactive and engaging workshops was to explore ways in which green innovation may be empowered by education and technology. Over two and a half days, international and national participants with an interest in green knowledge and environmental protection from the agricultural, biodiversity and rural education fields came together to discuss, share and apply best practices. Business plans for green entrepreneurs were proposed at the workshops. Major questions that arose from the event including whether medicinal plants are a sustainable business venture and how to promote education via an inquiry based system of learning. World renowned participants got involved in ‘what if’ scenarios, and mapped and brainstormed models and cultivated ideas. Certain topics within farming such as creating a good harvest and the planting of crop seeds, and how we can improve the productivity of the farmer and his or her crop yield through the use of Open Data under a modern innovative method of precision farming were also discussed. Hydro-biological data sets for environmental protection and the exchange of accessible information were analysed to see how it can be used in a meaningful and environmentally friendly way.
Participants who registered to the event were able to get a free pass to the Blue Hackathon organised from the 1st to the 2nd of July in Heraklion, Crete.
This event is of importance to Organic Lingua , as it seeks to create an infrastructure for relevant actors and the general public to access large amounts of raw data within databases, and then exchange and share information in order to improve or innovate the environment and agricultural sector. For more information please see here.
The 6th International Conference on Agriculture
Monday, July 15th, 9am to Thursday, July 18th, 5pm
The aim of the conference is to bring together researchers and scholars on multiple areas of agriculture. Areas of focus include botany, environmental conservation, ecology, waste management, rural development, computers in agriculture, agricultural engineering, land use, plants and tree studies, food and nutrition, soil identification and genetics. The conference is organised by The Athens Institute for Education and Research (ATINER). For more information please see the conference website.
Blue Hackathon 2013
The Blue Hackathon 2013 took place from the 1st to the 2nd of July in Heraklion Crete and was hosted by the Hellenic Centre for Marine Research (HCMR). Organic.Lingua was one of the main supporters of the event, together with SemaGrow, Naturally Europe, Vibrant and others. The series of interactive and thought provoking workshops invited IT developers and hackers to use their skills and experience to create new ideas for a sustainable and healthier future. The applied ideas that participants suggested focused on the multiple benefits of Open Data and APIs that consist of environmental, hydrobiological and oceanographical information.
The main crux of the Hackathon is to see how open databases that are focused on marine ecology can contribute to innovations and significant improvements in the sustainability of the environment. The workshops tested out, applied, shared and discussed the existing tools used for open data within the marine biological sectors. For this year’s event, a number of open data sets identified by Agro-Know have been worked on by programmers. Some of the data sets suggested include a mobile application that is designed to report animal sightings along ship routes such as fish, dolphins, whales and birds; through the use of GPS mapping. Programmers investigated how applying and uploading photos by users on to the programme on the hand-held device can happen. The European Directory of Marine Environmental Data (EDMED), which holds three thousand plus data sets across over six hundred data holding centres in Europe, is just another example of the countless data sets Agro-Know showcasted at the Hackathon.
This major event is of importance to Organic Lingua, as the workshops closely analyze how open data infrastructures can be used to innovate the environment and solve its many challenges. For more information please see here.
Meet the Partners - Dr. Salvador Sanchez-Alonso
Dr. Sanchez-Alonso's past experience has been credited as an assistant professor at the Pontifical University of Salamanca from 1997 to 2000 and again from 2002 to 2005. He has also worked as a software engineer at a software solutions company during 2000 and 2001 in the UK.
International Conference on Organic Agriculture and Food Security 2013
Thursday, Aug. 15th, 9am to Friday, Aug. 16th, 6pm
2 Viale Ancona
The XXXIV. International Conference on Organic Agriculture and Food Security in Venice, Italy aims to bring together leading academic scientists, researchers and scholars to exchange and share their experiences and research results about all aspects of Organic Agriculture and Food Security, whilst also mapping solutions to existing challenges.
For more information, visit the conference website.