World's Agricultural Information Specialists Stop By Mann
Skype and Facebook are marvelous social media inventions, allowing us to make global and instant connections via the Internet from our computers and mobile phones. That said, there’s really nothing that beats face to face interactions for getting to know new people and sharing new ideas.
This was certainly proven true the week of July 21-24, when agricultural librarians and information specialists from around the globe gathered at Mann for the World Congress of the International Association of Agricultural Information Specialists (IAALD). Mann staff organized and hosted the conference, which is held every three years, and we were pleased to welcome over one hundred participants from Asia, Europe, Africa and North and South American who gathered to discuss issues related to the conference’s theme: emerging priorities for scientific & agricultural information.
The conference kicked off on Monday morning with a keynote speech by National Agricultural Library Director Simon Liu, and ended with a bus tour of Ithaca area vegetable, cash crop and dairy farms. In between were papers presented on topics ranging from the use of information communication technologies (ICT) by women extension works in Nigeria to animal health information systems for the Pacific Island countries and territories; interactive workshops on topics such as “Using Moodle as an Online Learning Management System to Offer Professional Development Courses to Agricultural Extension Workers in Africa”; a poster session with over twenty posters covering everything from “Precision Agriculture in Upstate New York” to “Current Developments of Institutional Repositories on Agricultural Research Institutes and Universities in Japan”; and all-conference plenary panel presentations in the Dean’s Room on E-Learning for Impact in Africa (sponsored by CALS International Programs) and Global Opportunities & Partnerships for Agricultural Librarians (sponsored by the United States Agricultural Information Network, USAIN).
The conference proved to be a major success, and attendees—including Mann staff-- made many new friends from around the world. Most importantly, everyone at IAALD 2013 started crucial face to face discussions on the way libraries and librarians globally can play a major role in using information to tackle tough topics such as food security and natural resource preservation. Here’s hoping that those discussions and connections started here at Mann continue on in the years to come.
For more information on IAALD, whose mission is to “enable members to create, capture, access and disseminate information to achieve a more productive and sustainable use of the world's land, water, and renewable natural resources,” see their website at http://www.iaald.org. For a full description of the conference, see the IAALD 2013 program. And finally, for pictures from the conference, see the IAALD 2013 Flickr page.
A report on the 7/23 plenary session "E-Learning for Impact in Africa" is also available in a Cornell Chronicle article of July 26th.
Videos of individual sessions from the Congress are also now viewable online.