Collaborate, Create, Communicate

XIII IAALD World Congress Roundup

Montpellier at the end of April was abuzz with eager participants heading to the XIII IAALD World Congress. One of the event’s attractions was a side session on Web 2.0 and Social Media for research uptake, which was facilitated by the ICT-KM Program’s Antonella Pastore, and Pier Andrea Pirani of Euforic Services. Designed to help participants improve the availability, accessibility and applicability of their agricultural information, this pre-Congress session was part of the CIARD Marketplace.

The session focused on blogs, microblogs and newsfeeds, and also showcased several CGIAR projects that effectively use social media to promote the uptake of research outputs.

You can read all about the issues and lessons learned from the various demos in Antonella’s insightful post: Web 2.0 and social media for research uptake: demos at the CIARD Marketplace. While Pier’s post, Simple ingredients for tasty recipes: how four CGIAR Centers are implementing the CIARD Web 2.0 and social media pathways, covers short video interviews that highlight the stories behind the online examples.

Also worthy of mention was the Knowledge Cafe that looked at m-agriculture – agricultural services, technology dissemination, and communication using mobile devices such as mobile  phones, laptops, netbooks, PDAs and other wireless enabled devices. The blog post M-agriculture: mobile devices and their role in transforming communication highlights the ways in which mobile devices are transforming information and communication in agriculture. Three panellists also shared their stories about mobile devices that can enable the change processes: from the dissemination of alerts on newly available literature, to informing a small group of people of available crops on sale, to a complex community based project involving women farmers.

After the official closing session of the Congress, when many of the participants were already heading home, 30 information managers stayed behind to share their experiences with tools like social bookmarking and social networks services. Their focus? On approaches that can work in low-bandwidth environments.

Their discussions covered the following points:

  • How to measure impact, monitor and evaluate usage of social media so as to select the right mix
  • How to use social bookmarking tools as a channel to mobilise content across different web platforms, networks and communities
  • Low-bandwidth social media solutions

At the end of the discussions, the information professionals concluded that the enormous potential of social media is still mostly untapped in the agriculture and rural development world, and that they want to embrace new knowledge sharing approaches, and learn from peer experiences. Overall, the IAALD Congress helped them understand the diverse roles that information managers play, and that the better they understand each others’ work, the more effective they can be in their own.

Find out more about the discussions in the in-depth post Social media for information specialists: an open space at XIII IAALD World Congress.