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The LIMS Community and its collaborative Livestock Information Management System for managing livestock statistics and sharing information in the SADC region (Southern African Development Community)

Bonnet P., Bedane B., Bheenick K.J., Juanes X., Girardot B., Coste C., Gourment C., Wanda G., Madzima W., Oosterwijk G., Erwin T.. 2010. In : IAALD ; Agropolis In. Scientific and technical information and rural development = Information scientifique et technique et développement rural : éclairages sur des pratiques innovantes : IAALD XIIIth World Congress, Montpellier, France, 26-29 april 2010. Montpellier : s.n., 9 p.. IAALD World Congress. 13, 2010-04-26/2010-04-29, Montpellier (France).

The paper aims at presenting some selected components of the SADC collaborative LIMS (Livestock Information Management System), particularly a wiki, a web mapping and a forum used in combination with other tools. The system experiments new ways for collating fragmented livestock statistics and sharing information in a region. It was developed in the context of the sector-wide integration of a regional economic community achievable through an improved institutional collaboration which LIMS shall foster. The initial problem stated that stakeholders of the region and in the sector were not sharing enough data or information, because of accessibility and interoperability problems, fragmentation of dataset lying under the responsibility of too many stakeholders, lack of standardization of contents, lack of a sharable virtual web space or due to sociological and institutional barriers. To overcome problems an hybrid information system was designed based on collaborative principles and components. The system is ruled by a few international standards on contents and exchange protocols. It is firstly based on an institutional alliance, the LIMS community, forming professional and somehow social networks organized at regional and national levels. This community is made of key stakeholders from countries and livestock commodity chains of the region who endeavour to share and disseminate information and knowledge in a common system. They already use a collaborative database developed with a view of better collating quantitative data which contents were standardized. Finally the system was broaden up by adding a series of new collaborative software's which have been grouped under a portal to achieve specific communication and information management functions. The portal (url: http://www.printlims.org ; wiki.printlims.org) uses a content management system (CMS EZpublish) and other WEB2.0-derived tools like WIKI manuals and documents, technical and thematic forums (Dgroups from CTA and phpBB) and a new interactive mapping tool (Geoclip©) to complement an already existing web mapping service. The LIMS system can be compared to similar initiatives like DEVinfo developed by the United Nations and CountrySTAT by FAO.

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