A taste of Water and Sanitation at the XII Seminar of Environmental Documentation Centres

On the 17th June, The Seminar of Environmental Documentation Centres and protected natural areas devoted part of its annual meeting to water and sanitation. The WASH information Consortium coordinated by IRC was invited by the United Nations Office Support International Decade “Water for Life” to present the Consortium initiative. The UN-Water in Zaragoza, the World Wide Web (W3C) and iAgua showed interest in working with the WASH information Consortium initiative.

At this meeting in Segovia, Spain more than 40 professionals from Resource Centres, and libraries of the United Nations came together to discuss the value of different initiatives and tools for  knowledge management. Water and sanitation have been the focus of several dialogues on water, that are organized as part of the International Decade “Water for Life”, 2005-2015, the inter-agency mechanism for the implementation of the Johannesburg Plan on water-related provisions and the Millennium Development Goals concerning freshwater.

Among the initiatives that were presented were:

  1. “Documentation Centres of United Nations on Water and Sanitation” by Pilar Gonzalez Meyaui of the United Nations Office.  Pilar invited participating organizations to join the group giving them the possibility of displaying on their websites the latest publications of the United Nations system on water and sanitation and have access to Spanish publications.

More than 15 centres showed their interest in becoming collaborative centres. However concern was expressed on the continuity of the initiative after completion of the Decade in 2015. The session also provided an opportunity for the United Nations depository libraries in Spain to introduce their work. Also highlighted was the transformation being observed in users in this new digital age and the increased need for training to improve search capabilities relevant and reliable documentation on the Internet.

2. WASH information Consortium an initiative of the International Water and Sanitation Centre (IRC). (View slideshow)

The presentation of the WASH information Consortium was done by Caridad Machín of IRC. Camacho was especially welcomed by the institutions related to water and sanitation. In the discussion some participants were interested in knowing the effectiveness of the group’s meetings and to what extent member organizations within the group are committed to the objectives of the consortium given the voluntary nature of the partnership. Three organizations expressed interest in working directly with the WASH information Consortium: Office of UN-Water in Zaragoza, the W3C Consortium and iAgua and they will be invited to the next meeting of the group. (To follow the group’s activities visit this blog: https://washinfo2015.wordpress.com/ and for joining the group send a message to camacho@irc.nl).

Caridad_presentation2_0614Focus on lessons learnt and capacity building

There were several presentations from different organizations on their experience in information management and social networks related to the theme of water. The Ministry of Health of Spain shared the significance of their information system on water consumption. Two more capacity building trainings, one on social media and another related water and W3C standards and OpenData completed the day.

Other activities of the seminar were the sharing of environmental information sources that attendees had previously sent and activities to strengthen the capacity of participants in knowledge management. New this year, at the seminar was a documentation workshop where issues participant centres encounter every day in their work were discussed.

Participants during the discussions were eager to absorb new sources of information provided regarding knowledge management. Isidro Aguillo who presented the workshop “Web Ranking of the Environmental Information and Documentation Centres Network (RECIDA- in Spanish)  and participated in the “Document Management Workshop” stressed the importance for communicators of the use of some web tools that help managers of organizations to make informed decisions and select appropriate communication channels and how to work with them.

“The web is nowadays the most important tool for communication and there are still many organizations who do not give the Web priority de needed” said Isidro Aguillo. Also, like Santiago Molina, Aguillo stressed the importance of enhancing  “personal brand” (Personal Branding), especially in social networks.

Other presentations that sparked extensive discussions were:

iAgua: “Measurement on websites and social networks” (David Escobar Gutierrez and Santiago Molina)

• “Dialnet Plus: Dialnet the new tool”. Ruben Herce from Dialnet Foundation explained how it works.

• Reference Management: Zotero. Elena Morato from Agencia Estatal de Meteorología – (AEMET) presented in a very practical way how to use this tool.

• Practical Workshop: Create and visualize new knowledge extracted from a corpus of documents using Text mining. Jose Pino (Siera Nevada National Park) explained how to apply this tool to any subject.

Commenting on these presentations one participant said, “these are powerful and easy tools to use. Really useful in managing the impact of information “.

The seminar ended with a review and update of the commitments of the centres and the various working groups and a workshop on how to make a website with little knowledge of editing and zero budget.

The final report of the event indicated that some of the commitments made last November 2012 could not be completely fulfilled due to the limited time and therefore many of them will apply for the next period. José Pino, will become part of the Advisory Commission of RECIDA, along with Isidro Aguillo, Elena Primo and Jesus Tramullas.

Some of the proposals for the next seminar are:

  • Develop policies for the use of photographs, managing  portals distribution lists;
  • Finding grants and subsidies;
  • Create networks of centres, and institutions with environmental information and documentation; Continue capturing new centres and universities interested in collaboration with RECIDA;
  • Work together to develop a bibliography for the Congress of Environment and Agriculture to be held in Zaragoza next year;
  • Prepare a workshop on intellectual property;
  • Continue completing the list of sources of environmental information held in this seminar and post it on RECIDA portal and Delicious;
  • Search for photo management programs;
  • Continue collaboration with the United Nations group.

This annual seminar, which  the United Nations joined this year, is already a regular event for environmental documentation centres of Spain. This year’s edition has allowed the documentation centres to become familiar with documentation sources related to water and sanitation, contacting other existing networks and receiving training in new tools that will improve their information and knowledge management.

By Caridad Machín Camacho, IRC.

All presentations and minutes of this edition will be available soon on CENEAM’s website.

To view photos of the event go to: http://www.flickr.com/photos/recida/sets/

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