Friends of Agro-Know: Meet Dr. Xian Guojian


Following up on the previous post with the mini interview of Dr. Sun Wei, this time we will have the opportunity to get to know more about Dr. Xian Guojian. Having spent about three months in the Agro-Know office during his research visit, he has some interesting things to share about his work, research interests and opinion about Greece and AK. You can find the responses of Dr. Xian right below:


V: So, could you please share with us some information about educational background?
G: My name is Guojian Xian, come from China. I received the B.Sc. degree in computer sciences at the China Agricultural University (2006). I got my M.Sc. (2008) and Ph.D. (2013) degrees both in Agricultural Information Resources Management at the Graduate School of Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS).

V: What is your current occupation?

G: I am working at the Agricultural Information Institute (AII) of CAAS and have an intermediate title now. AII’s mission is to undertake scientific innovation in the field of agricultural information and to provide agricultural science-technology information services national wide. AII is also the national agricultural science-technology documentation center as being the National Agricultural Library, holds 2.1 million copies of books, journals, proceedings, dissertations, rare ancient books, etc.

The Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS) is a national, integrative agricultural scientific research organization with responsibility for carrying out both basic and applied research, as well as research into new technologies impacting agriculture.


V: What exactly are you working on and what are your research interests? 
G: I am a member of the Division of Digital Library Technology of AII, and have been working here from 2008. I am mainly responsible for the digitalization of literatures of the library, information management and organization and integration. My research interests including data intelligent processing, metadata standards and interoperation, information & knowledge organization methodologies and tools such as thesaurus, ontology, linked open data.


V: You have spent the last three months at Agro-Know in the context of a research visit, collaborating with a part of the team supporting the AGRIS network. What were your expectations? Do you thing that you met those expectations?

G: It’ a good chance for me to come here and cooperate with Agro-Know to undertake some tasks from FAO. Before I come here, I hope I can learn some advanced methodologies and skills related to agricultural information management, and also learn how to think and work with an international view and way. So far, I think I got more than that. Firstly, I got deeper and comprehensive understanding about AGRIS and AGROVOC. Secondly, I mastered many useful skills for information & knowledge management skills and interoperations, such as the way to design and develop restful web service API based on Jersey, and semantic indexing and searching based on Solr, lucence-skos, IKAnalyzer, mmseg4j, how to linking and reuse the open access data resources. Furthermore, I made a lot improvement on how to express myself in English and cooperate with others.


(L-R): Guojian Xian & Wei Sun (CAAS), Johannes Keizer & Fabrizio Celli (FAO), Nikos Manouselis (AK) relaxing at the AK office

(L-R): Guojian Xian & Wei Sun (CAAS), Johannes Keizer & Fabrizio Celli (FAO), Nikos Manouselis (AK) relaxing at the AK office


As for the agINFRA project, I am mainly responsible for the design and implementation of the Restful APIs of the CAAS bibliographic metadata (CASDD) and the Chinese Crop Germplasm Information System (CGRIS) data. So far, the APIs provide some way for the third application (system) to access and link the Chinese bibliographic metadata and germplasm data with keyword, scientific name, AGROVOC Concept URI, Chinese Agricultural Thesaurus (CAT) URI and so on. The response formats include RDF/XML following the AGRIS AP/DWC schema and plain JSON.


V: Everyone seems to be talking about linked open data (LOD), including the agricultural context; what is your opinion about LOD?

G: For my understanding, the linked open data is one of the best practices to describe and link related but heterogeneous data in a standard, semantically way on the web. The widely used ontologies and vocabularies, such as FOAF, DCMI, BIBO, AGROVOC, etc., are crucial for building and consuming linked data. What’s more, it is expected that more and more high quality and rich in links data set are exposed following the linked data rules and styles. It is still a big challenge so far how to manage, use and mine on large scale linked data, especially the RDF triples or quads.


V: You have been in Greece for almost 3 months now; how do you like it so far? What do you like and what you don’t?
G: Greece is a great country. I enjoy very much in staying at Athens. People here are very kind. And the delicious foods, local olive oil and famous sightseeing such Santorini are unforgettable in my whole life. I like the life style here, because people here are really experiencing and enjoying their life.


V: Last but not least; what is your opinion about Agro-Know, based on your short experience during these months?

G: I have to say, Agro-Know is a great company and has good culture. Each member is respected, and they work together like a big family, real family, in a comfortable working space. They have strong responsibilities and competence for their customers and cooperators. Everybody here is so kind and friendly. I really appreciate everyone whatever you have done for me. I did have good period time here. Thanks a lot.

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