The CIARD Routemap to Information Nodes and Gateways (RING) is a global directory of web-based services that will give access to any kind of information sources pertaining to agricultural research for development (ARD). The RING is the principal tool created through the CIARD movement to allow information providers to register their services in various categories and so facilitate the discovery of sources of agriculture-related information across the world. The RING aims to provide an infrastructure to improve the accessibility of the outputs of agricultural research and of information relevant to ARD management.
Functions of the RING
- to provide a map of accessible information sources with instructions on how they can be searched effectively;
- to provide a dataset sharing platform for agriculture;
- to provide examples of services that show good practices on implementing “interoperability”;
- to clarify the level and mode of interoperability of information services;
- to provide instructions for building enhanced integrated services that repackage information in different ways (refer to the CIARD Pathways of the 2nd and 3rd group)
This makes the RING a real “routemap” that guides the user in discovering, accessing and exploiting the existing information sources.
Who uses the RING?
The RING is designed mainly for agricultural information professionals and website developers, and secondarily for consumers of agricultural information as a “bookmark” list of agricultural information services.
Benefits of using the RING
- allows information service providers to publicize the services by registering them;
- provides technical metadata on information services registered by the providers;
- facilitates discovery and use of publicly accessible information to enrich other services.
The way forward - CIARD and the RING
The CIARD partners intend that the RING will become the principal global technical platform for accessing, sharing and exchanging information through webservices.
Phase 1: the Directory
The first phase, launched in November 2009, comprises the development of the directory. Institutions will be encouraged to register and describe their current publicly accessible information sources and services. The registers will allow:
- categorization and interlinking of services according to specific criteria e.g. standards adopted, vocabulary used, technology used, protocols implemented, level of interoperability etc.;
- provision of detailed instructions on how the featured services can be "interoperated".
Information professionals and web developers can exploit information in the RING to build advanced services that tap into the registered services.
Phase 2: leveraging the RING Directory to build advanced services
Once the descriptions collected about services are detailed and structured enough, and once the number of registered services is sufficiently large, some advanced services can be built directly on the content of the RING website. Examples of such services are:
- A global harvester of all registered providers of Open Archives
- A viewer/navigator for registered RDF stores
- Sample thematic aggregators that harvest from registered RSS feeds
- Sample consumers of web services
- Sample programming code on how to implement services