The new EGI Training Marketplace (developed by a dedicated team at STFC) went live on the 7th of June and having now tested it, viewed it, talked about it and changed just a little here and there, the time has come to promote this potentially great addition to the EGI tool box. Why only ‘potentially’? Put simply, the Training Market place is a shiny new tool still that needs us all, as users of the grid, to really start using it.
While wondering how to introduce this new facility to everyone, I stumbled upon an article that sought to explain eBay to the un-initiated. Describing eBay as a phenomenal success, the article went on to state that it is a place to buy and a place to sell; that eBay is a meeting place, not a store; a place to collect; a website … and that it is Free for buyers and inexpensive for sellers. One thing the article did not mention was that there is practically no internet user who does not know about eBay - obviously, this is one very good reason for its success. The fact is that eBay doesn't actually sell any goods itself. Instead, its business model is about giving entrepreneurs and sellers a place to reach customers, and to give customers access to the world's largest collection of things to buy. The Training Marketplace shares virtually all of these characteristics with eBay but even better, it is Free to both its ‘buyers’ and ‘sellers’.
Using the Training Market place couldn’t be simpler. It has been set up using the Drupal open source Content Management System and is embedded into a frame of the EGI website. There are 3 routes in:
- Firstly there is a ‘Search’ function. This function accesses over 9000 records of past training events that stretch as far back as the EGEE project era. At the top level, the function provides a broad set of search results which can then be refined through a more granular advanced search capability.
- The new ‘Browse’ function provides users with 4 options, the most immediately visual of which is titled ‘Events’ which opens up a map of the EGI partnering nations. Training events that have been loaded into the database will appear under the parenting nation as the mouse pointer hovers over that nation. Alternatively there are the more traditional Calendar and List displays for the same Training Events information. One important addition to what has gone before is the feedback function which now emulates the rating system that has become increasingly common on the internet – users who have attended a Training Event can anonymously ‘Rate’ the course they attended. To enhance this cataloguing of published Training Events, there are functions for listing available Training Resources and University Courses and even an area where users can publish their ‘Training Wishes’. These are currently empty containers but once supported by users, these will become important parts of this Training Marketplace.
- The third entry point is the ‘Advertise’ function which naturally complements ‘Browse’ by providing the method for trainers and users to load Training Events, Training-related Resources, Wishes and University Courses into the system’s database. This is a completely new functionality and enables members of the EGI community to advertise training-related services for EGI and beyond. Training VOs, training portals, training CAs, training frameworks or any other item can be registered and offered via this new service.
Brilliant! So we now have a Training Marketplace that in many ways emulates eBay … well not quite yet and this is where we all have an important role to play. As managers in VRCs, NGIs or even as individual users, our task now is to promote this website to everyone who is planning a training event that is relevant to the EGI community and thereby turn it into a forward looking, popular and well used Marketplace.
Is someone in your community preparing to run a training event or has something related to offer? Get them to publish it. Is one of your team searching for specialist training? Point them to the Training Marketplace to find a suitable course or to publish their training wish. Interested in a University course? The Training Market place may have something for you. Do you provide a training infrastructure, training portal or any other service that trainers could use? Advertise them in the marketplace! Wherever and whoever you are within the grid’s many communities, please help by encouraging those around you to make this “the world's largest collection” of grid training materials, events, resources and services …. promoted by and for users like you and me.
1 Jul 2011