“Information regarding vertical farming can rarely be found in one place as most is spread over different platforms, making it difficult for researchers to find all the information they could need,” says Amora Amir, lecturer at Inholland University of Applied Science.
Now, the Inholland University of Applied Science has come up with a solution to benefit both students and professionals. The university has proposed to build a database about vertical farming for educational purposes. The project is funded by the European Regional Development Fund (EFRO) of Field lab Vertical Farming.
As Amora explains, the aim of this project is to build a database that can be accessed worldwide to gain diverse information, and thus to benefit scholars. Early 2021, an initial project based on this idea was carried out by Inholland. A primary database was built in Microsoft Teams and SharePoint, which includes open access documents on vertical farming and Inholland internal data.
The trial database
The database is outfitted with various filters to make it easier to find the right information, such as filtering by sector, category, content, or level of difficulty. To make it more convenient to users, a chatbot was built in the Teams environment to help users filter and find the documents they are interested in. It can be accessed by anyone who gets invited to the Teams environment.
“The current result is a good start, but in order to create the ideal vertical farming database, there are still some challenges to overcome,” Amora notes.
First of all, the automation for the process of data sorting and input can be a challenge. Secondly, the database can only use open-access data and internal data from Inholland due to regulations and data and author protection laws. This makes it difficult to connect with external libraries to get more accessible materials due to data sharing policies.
Together we win
The project is part of the EFRO vertical farming project, and there are plenty of partners working and supporting this project. “When other libraries will be able to share data with the project group, the builders of the database believe the project will be in high demand and will benefit all partners and potential partners,” Amora says.