New software streamlines ISO accreditation for CIP’s genebank

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January 22, 2013 By: cip_admin

How CIP manages the technical documentation of its germplasm movement

It is no small feat for the International Potato Center (CIP) to manage the technical documentation of its germplasm movement. CIP houses the world’s biggest in vitro genebank, backed by more than 600 employees who are spread across nearly 40 countries working to improve the lives of the poor through roots and tubers.

CIP’s genebank is the heart of the Center where its scientists count on nearly 18,000 root and tuber accessions to find genetic traits to increase crop production to benefit poor farmers. CIP scientists also search through the genebank’s collection looking for resistant genes to develop climate-smart crops that adapt to biotic and abiotic stresses – such as drought, pest and diseases – which are on the increase due to climate change. The collection is maintained as a global public good under the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture.

CIP was the world’s first genebank to receive ISO accreditation in February 2008, and with this merit comes the responsibility to manage documents in an efficient manner. Early on the team decided to use an electronic document management system. The team chose the wiki and collaboration software ‘Confluence’ from Atlassian since it offered most of the features required. However, some features for tagging printed documents as required were partially missing.

“We found a solution to improve the ease of our management of printed documents – Scroll Office from K15t Software. With this technology one can now specify certain elements to match the ISO standards” notes Reinhard Simon, Head of CIP’s Integrated IT and Computational Research.

Prior to Scroll Office, Simon’s unit was burdened with the task of maintaining two systems – a parallel server and administrator to first translate the documents into the standard ISO format. According to Simon, another benefit of the new software is that it allows CIP to brand their documentation by adding a logo, copyright information, and headers for each operational procedure.

“The documentation of CIP’s germplasm movement is now efficient and streamlined. It is so easy to maintain and modify, and it precisely meets the expectations of the external auditors, as well as the internal users”, adds Simon.