Minutes of OpenUp! Kick-off meeting in Berlin

The Kick-off meeting forthe OpenUp! Project was held at the Botanical Museum and Botanical Garden, Freie Universität Berlin, from Tuesday 8th to Friday 11th of March 2011.

The Project Steering Committee met on Tuesday afternoon. Following opening introductions the committee dealtwith administrative items and matters relating to hiring people for theproject. The main item of the meeting was detailed discussion of the timetable of  the project first year and the deliverables and milestones for that period. The partners agreed on a 3 month reporting period, when the Project Coordinator (PC) will be informed by Work Package (WP) leaders about progress, problems and  all ther important information about the project.

On Wednesday a plenary assembly of all project partners was held. In the first session Project Officer, Marcel Watelet, guided partners through their duties and reporting responsibilities to EC. Lizzy Komen from EUROPEANA then gave a presentation on the harvesting and presentation of partner data in the EUROPEANA portal. The main part of the meeting was devoted to introductions of all WPs and each of the data providers. Finally, the logo and design of the project webpage was introduced.

Two separate sessions were held on Thursday: these were inaugural meetings of the Technology Management Group (TMG) and the Outreachand Dissemination Group (ODG).

The TMG meeting dealt with the technical workplan, first year program and TMG Structure and communication.

During the presentations of the technical workplan it was agreed that image URLs should be used as identifiers for multimedia files. Other systems (e.g. DOIs) should be considered as well but in general the project should try to build on the TDWG standardisation process rather than trying to set its own standards. The persistence of identifiers has to be ensured by the data providers together with the OpenUp! helpdesk. Reference lists to be integrated into the common names architecture include GBIF and Fishbase. GBIF can provide powerful parsing- quality services. Botanical and zoological name services should also be capable of processing name lists and should include fuzzy matching functionality. As well as data enrichment will be done on the fly, using the data quality services provided by NHMW, KEW, and UH.

In the first year relevant components, deliverables, and milestones are given in DoW section B3.3. One of the first milestones is setting up mock-ups for the botanical,zoological, common names, and data integrity services in month 4. The mock-ups will offer working interfaces to the services reflecting the respective interface specifications. They will not have to use the full data sources which will be connected in a later project stage. Mock-up services will primarily be used to ensure that decoupled OpenUp! software modules interact correctly.

NHM and AIT will collaborate on the specification of the set-up of the central aggregator system. KEW (IBSAS), UH, NHMW, and BGBM to collaborate on the quality and enhancement service specifications. In particular zoological and botanical quality services should follow the same syntax.

TMG Membership is restricted to the core technical partners of BGBM, AIT, GBIF, IBSAS, KEW, NHM, NHMW, and UH. Additional partners can be invited for specific subjects/issues. Access to the TMG website and forum will also be given on request.

The participants agreed that the following communication tools will be needed for the TMG: E-maillist (archived by the TMG scratchpad forum): tmg@open-up.eu, TMG-internal (scratchpad) webpage for each of the major OpenUp! software modules,  TMG-internal Blog, which can be used for meeting minutes for example and Skype. All TMG-members will be given editor-rights on the TMG-part of the OpenUp! scratchpads which allows for creation/modification/deletion of all TMG contents.

The TMG agreed using regular Skype conference calls once a week to monitor and control technical progress in OpenUp!

The Project Coordinator (PC) outlined his view on the role of the ODG: The Group is an advisory body for the Steering Committee, uniting the closely related WPs 7 and 8. Its main task is making sure that the important internal (communications) and external (dissemination and outreach) functions are properly coordinated. Decisions affecting the work plan (e.g. changes in the timing or wording of tasks, components, deliverables and milestones) have to be taken by the Steering Committee, so please communicate these immediately to the PC.

Each of the ODG WPs were then discussedin turn. WP7 deliverables and help-desk facility were introduced first. The deliverables are: D7.1.3. Dispatching system to answer questions timely operational (coordination of the report MNHN,M 14), D7.1.4. Guidelines for users and content providers v.1 online at the helpdesk (coordination of the report RMCA, M 12), D7.2.3. Enriched + checkedexisting documentation in orig. language online at the helpdesk (coordination of the report RMCA, M 16), D7.2.4. Availability of newly produced documentationon the helpdesk website (coordination of the report UT-NHM, M32) and D7.3.4.Standard procedure for associated partners to join operational (coordination of the report, UH, M 24).

WP8 deliverables were then reviewed,these are: D8.3.2. Dissemination and publication plan (coordination of the report NM, M 7), D8.6.2. Report on outreach to educational sector (coordination of the report NM, M 23) and D8.5.1. Report on the impact of OpenUp! content in EUROPEANA and on user communities (coordination of the report RBGE, M 34).

A detailed discussion followed about ways and means of meeting deliverables and promoting the project and results to the public.

It was agreed to prepare promotion kits containing leaflets, posters, flyers and templates for a project presentation. Other partners are to produce their own language versions of the kits.

The first Newsletter will be prepared after six months and will be distributed among partners and possible users of the project results. When content of the project will be delivered to EUROPEANA, PowerPoint presentations will introduce the usage of the project. The presentations will be downloadable directly from the project web page. All members of ODG are to use their own communication channels to introduce the project within their countries and research circles by means of press releases, media briefings and exhibitions.

To co-ordinate dissemination and communications plans (deliverable D8.3.2), each partner is requested to reporton their own dissemination activities and comment on the proposed timetable of dissemination activities. RBGE proposed a method of evaluating the impact of OpenUp! content in EUROPEANA (deliverable D8.5.1) by measuring number of visitors of OpenUp! content on EUROPEANA and by number of hits of OpenUp! content from data providers.

The session concluded with discussion about, possible changes to the project logo using different flaying objects, and preparation of the corporate design.

On Friday a workshop washeld which discussed ways to reach additional target users. The workshop also introduced BioCASE, GBIF, and EDIT helpdesks.

The first brainstorming session looked at changes to the design of the project web page to give it a more attractive layout using changing bold images, different colours of background and dynamic maps of content providers. The members of the ODG agreed to send on (within two weeks) one or two bold and eye-catching pictures from their content to be used in the web page. The GBIF helpdesk will provide a dynamic mapshowing the geographical distribution of the content provided by OpenUp! project in the end of the first year. The web page administrator will discuss possibile project web page layout changes with the ODG scratchpad team and try to incorporate all suggestions.

WP7 gave a short review on lessons learned in previous collaborations between BioCASE and EUROPEANA. This review included a presentation about how the data from BioCASE was harvested by EUROPEANA; an introduction to the helpdesk facility; set up plans and examples for EU-COM (European Collection Management Committee and SYNTHESYS project), GBIF/BioCASE, EDIT helpdesks sites. Discussion followed on synergies, re-useand expansions for OpenUp! helpdesk needs.

During the second brainstorming session the focus was on the detailed definition of the target audience for the projectand how to reach them with dissemination activities. The major target audiences are professional natural scientists (scientific institutions), educational sector (schools, teachers, students, amateurs, artists) and journalists.

The scientists will be addressed through partner projects, conferences hold in partner institutions and/or beattended by partners and already well-established consortia like EDIT, CETAF, BHL, GBIF, BioCase, BioNet-International. All partners is asked to link OpenUp web page to their own home pages with short explanation what is project about.

The general public - will be reachedby partners through channels like educational and open doors days, and by modern communications channels like Facebook, Twitter, and through Europeana.

Journalists will be directly approachedby the PR departments of the partner institutions, and through the project webpage, for which different press releases will be prepared. An executive summary will be prepared to be distributed among local newspapers.

The members of ODG will discuss withthe PR staff at their respective institutions the various means that can be usedto approach educational organisations from school to adult level. An educational leaflet is to be drawn up on the OpenUpproject web site with links to partner institutions websites. An article about OpenUp! will also be prepared for inclusion in professional journals used by teachers.

Individuals with a personal interest in natural sciences will be informed through Facebook and/or Twitter, about main OpenUp! events (anniversary meetings) and the publication of newsletters, and new images harvested by Europeana.

Potential additional users of OpenUp! are likely to be collectors, historians and other individuals interested in history of Natural Science. For this potential user group it is considered important to ask data providers to provide images of objects collected by significant persons (eg Linne or Darwin): and with metadata on these objects giving information about the place, time and location of collection. Another possibility to be investigated is ways of linking these objects to original descriptions of new species within digitized historic biodiversity literature. For example links to texts in BHL. A process will be established for Europeana to harvest this metadata at a later stage.


Other additional channels for publicising the project and its results may be considered, e.g. Wikipedia, and different kinds of image galleries of partners. 

Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith