ILRI hosts DSpace Ethiopia user meeting and CGSpace training

Participants of the Dspace technical training From 28 October to 1 November 2013, International Livestock Research Institute knowledge management team in Addis Ababa held an informal first Ethiopia DSpace Interest Group Meeting and a DSpace Technical Training for staff and other DSpace users.

On the first day, about 25 people came to ILRI from various organizations in Ethiopia and abroad to meet, discuss and share knowledge with people interested to know about DSpace and those already running DSpace.

Participants from CGIAR centres, the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA), Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research (EIAR), the African Union (AU), United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), University of Nairobi (UoN), Addis Ababa University (AAU), Mekele University, Ethiopian Revenue and Customs Authority and the Ethiopian Development Bank were among those present.

Sven De Labey from Atmire, a privately held enterprise and leading DSpace support and development group, gave a presentation about the state of the art and coming developments on DSpace. Peter Ballantyne and Abenet Yabowork reported on using DSpace at ILRI while Alan Orth and Sisay Webshet explained what it takes, technically, to run CGSpace. Irene Onyancha shared lessons from the UNECA institutional repository on Dspace.

During the various sessions, participants learned a lot and raised the challenges they face running DSpace at their organizations. The discussions and presentations resulted in a strong interest to have another such meet-up early next year, also encouraging others that do not use a DSpace repository to set-up and run one for their own organizations.

For the following three days, Sven gave an intensive technical training for 7 CGSpace administrators representing the International Water Management Institute (IWMI), the CGIAR Research Program on Water, Land and Ecosystems (WLE), the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), CTA and ILRI as well as staff from the University of Nairobi, EIAR, UNECA, and the AU. Topics covered including DSpace Administration, Customization, Users Management, Installation, Configuration and Metadata Harvesting.

As part of the technical training, we had a session on DSpace-Drupal integration with Fabio Fidanza (Macaroni Brothers) who talked about ways the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) republished DSpace content on its website.

In the final day, we held various side meetings to discuss and solve pending technical issues on CGSpace customization. We also looked at more content management issues with colleagues from CGIAR centers. The main action points from this day were:

  • We need to identify some standard content formats that all CGSpace users employ;
  • Proposing a concept for some standard ‘core’ CGSpace metadata fields for reporting purposes;
  • Harvesting content to and from CGSpace.

The meetings were excellent opportunities for ILRI, CGIAR colleagues and parters from Ethiopia and Kenya to engage and learn from each other. It was also wonderful to spend considerable amount of time together to discuss and solve some advanced technical developments around DSpace.

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Story by Abenet Yabowork and Peter Ballantyne