Background: the process

The Agriscontent taskforce is part of a process that has been going on for some years. For a listing of most important meeting see http://www.fao.org/aims/pub_workshops.jsp

You can see there that this process is closely related to the Agricultural Ontology Service initiative, that has been meeting annually since 2001.

There has been a series of meetings that has been adressing a wider set of issues related to agricultural information services.

A first meeting was held in Brussels in november 2000. This meeting was organized as it became clear that the agricultural community could only benefit from the XML technology that had just been introduced if it would agree on common standards for information exchange. The “Dublin Core” standard for electronic resources was discussed in some detail.

A second meeting was held in London, june 2003. The background of this meeting was the realization that standards alone would not change the world. They should be used to create collaborative services for which there should be a need and a demand. Therefore the policy side of things was discussed on top of a wider list of technical issues.

To carry this process further in May 2005 a small expert meeting was held in Lexington to prepare for a later meeting in Rome, October 2005. At this meeting it became clear that to carry this process further there should be an organization that takes reponsibility. At the same time there was a general feeling that it would not be desirable to create a new structure, but that it would be preferable to make better use of existing organizations. To this goal taskforces were formed with representatives from different organizations in three different areas: “advocacy”, “content” and “capacity building”. The work on capacity building has been developed in close co-ordination with the IMARK organisation. The content taskforce (that we call now Agriscontent) should set the targets for the advocacy group to decide on priorities that need to be advocated.

Part of the Agriscontent group held a face-to-face meeting in May 2006 in Nairobi from which the terms of reference for this group emerged. This face-to-face meeting should come up with proposals and priorities for a wider expert consultation to be held in Rome later this year. (It was been scheduled for October 23/24)

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