“Improving Semantics in Agriculture” Workshop


A Workshop titled “Improving Semantics in Agriculture” is taking place between July 2-3, 2015 at FAO HQ, Rome, Italy. Our COO Giannis Stoitsis has already arrived in Rome and is currently attending the Workshop, which engages a number of people with long experience in knoweldge management in the agricultural sector.

The goal of this workshop is to draw a roadmap for the future of information management and sharing in agriculture based on shared semantics. It is expected that a large part of the discussions will revolve around GACS (“Global Agricultural Concept Scheme”) that aims to bring together three major thesauri in agriculture to build a common, global repository of conceptual and terminological information.


This is expected to significantly enhance and facilitate the interoperability between different databases that use one of these three thesauri:

1. AGROVOC: AGROVOC is a controlled vocabulary covering all areas of interest of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, including food, nutrition, agriculture, fisheries, forestry, environment etc. It is published by FAO and edited by a community of experts. AGROVOC consists of over 32,000 concepts available in 23 languages. To date, AGROVOC is used by researchers, librarians and information managers for indexing, retrieving and organizing data in agricultural information systems and Web pages. The Linked Data version of AGROVOC is in RDF/SKOS-XL which is aligned with 16 other multilingual knowledge organization systems related to agriculture. Data is accessible to machines through a SPARQL endpoint, and to humans by means of a HTML pages generated with Loddy.

2. CAB Thesaurus: CAB Thesaurus is a controlled vocabulary that has been in constant use since 1983, being maintained by CABI. It currently consists of about 264,500 terms, including 144,900 preferred terms and 119,600 non-preferred terms in English but also including Dutch, Portuguese and Spanish equivalents for most English terms, plus lesser content in Danish, Finnish, French, German, Italian, Norwegian and Swedish. CAB thesaurus provides a broad coverage of pure and applied life sciences, technology and social sciences. Publishing the thesaurus as Linked Open Data is expected to take place early 2016.

3. NAL Thesaurus: The Thesaurus and Glossary of the National Agricultural Library (NAL) are online vocabulary tools of agricultural terms in English and Spanish and are cooperatively produced by the National Agricultural Library, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture as well as other Latin American agricultural institutions belonging to the Agriculture Information and Documentation Service of the Americas (SIDALC). NAL Thesaurus is available in Spanish and English parallel bilingual versions and contains more than 110,000 terms, including 51,926 cross references in the fields of agriculture, biology and related disciplines, organized in seventeen (17) categories. NAL thesaurus is available in XML, PDF, MARC and DOC formats as well as as Linked Open Data (RDF-SKOS).

Agro-Know has a long-time involvement and contributions in the field of agricultural knowledge management systems; the most recent ones (at least the ones I now recall) being the revamp of the Organic.Edunet ontology (the ontology is available through the Ontology Service API) as well as a number of smaller, domain-specific ontologies (for organic agriculture, aquaculture, viticulture and researchers / practitioners) that we have developed in the context of the VOA3R ICT-PSP project. In this context, I believe that our participation in the Workshop (referring to sharing our previous experience) will be fruitful and substantial.

You can find more information as well as the agenda of the Workshop at the FAO AIMS Announcement Page

Leave a Comment.

Can you prove that you are not a bot? * Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.