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Sharing Information and Data Across the Caribbean

Sharing Data and Information across the Caribbean: Institutional Strengthening for Promoting Best Practices in Science and Technology for the Caribbean States (Organisation of American States Project 2008-2013):

The Technical Orientation Workshop and Launch to mark the completion of this OAS-funded project coordinated by ICENS took place at the UWI Regional Centre, Mona, Kingston, Jamaica on 26-27 February 2013. The following are the Report and Annexes of this event:

  • Final Report
  • Annexes A, B, D, E, F, G, H
  • Annex C

The event aimed to provide technical orientation to enable participants to store a ‘core assemblage’ of geo-referenced public domain information as a Digital Repository Database System fitted to their organisation’s own needs -  a flexible storage system to store primary content data indexed by descriptive metadata. The system is designed to balance typical storage/access operations with the long-term preservation needs of institutions for a wide range of data types. It will incorporate add-ons to provide visualizations of search results for spatial data and online exchange of data among other attributes and will accommodate data from any preferred realm of Science and Technology.

ICENS plans to use the experience of this project to develop a new, more extensive environmental information project able to work through the newly constructed broadband C@ribNET system designed to link the Caribbean to the global community of research and education networks. ICENS believes that sharing data within this project will help to advance the region’s scientific understanding of changes in ongoing environmental, climatic and natural resource issues and thus enhance socio-economic development.

A significant amount of useful analytical data has been produced in the Caribbean region over the last 4-5 decades, for example, the chemistry of food crops, agricultural soils, waters, rocks, minerals and other resources and in addition the distribution of disease. The Caribbean region covers an area of 2,754,000 km2 of which only 240,000km2 (8.7%) is land with a population of 40 million people. Much of this data is non-confidential and would provide useful guidance for economic planning and the improvement of local and regional industries. Most of these extremely important data have never been processed or interpreted or formally organized into datasets available to all users of such information and are scattered around many different locations in forms presently inaccessible to planners, policy makers, decision makers and those professionals charged with the responsibility of driving developmental programmes on the ground.

Many independent Caribbean states as well as territories have similar problems, for example, those of an environmental nature, those related to climate change, among others and could benefit enormously from sharing information and experiences and devising joint problem-solving interventions.

In its present form the system is designed for use by ‘hands-on’ specialists who carry out the day-to-day practical work of processing, interpretation and curation of data and information in public sector or academic research organisations.  For more information visit:

http://www.dspace.org/

The present scope of the project, shown on an idealized map of the Caribbean region – not to scale. Individual CARICOM member and associate countries are identified by their internet codes. The three core countries of the project are shown in red.