A Web-based tool to manage multilingual thesauri: the example of AGROVOC

Johannsen, Gudrun A Web-based tool to manage multilingual thesauri: the example of AGROVOC., 2008 . In 10th biennial International Conference ISKO 2008, Montreal (Canada), 5-8 August 2008. [Conference poster]

AGROVOC is a multilingual, structured and controlled vocabulary designed to cover the terminology of all subject fields in agriculture, forestry, fisheries, food and related domains (e.g. environment), and currently contains over 29 000 terms. It was developed by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) and the Commission of the European Communities, in the early 1980s.

The AGROVOC thesaurus is available on CD-ROM and online in 17 languages:
Arabic, Chinese, Czech, English, Farsi, French, German, Hindi, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Lao, Polish, Portuguese, Slovak, Spanish, Thai, and is under development for Russian, Moldavian, Turkish and Telugu.

Browse the thesaurus at: http://www.fao.org/agrovoc/

AGROVOC is available in MySQL, MsAccess, SKOS, Postgres, TagText and ISO2709 formats.
It can be downloaded free of charge for educational or other strictly non-commercial purposes at http://www.fao.org/aims/ag_download.htm, and is also accessible via web services at http://www.fao.org/aims/ag_webservices.jsp.

AGROVOC Maintenance Tool

FAO has since 2003 been developing a new maintenance tool. The AGROVOC Maintenance Interface is a web-based thesaurus management system which is now being used to maintain the AGROVOC thesaurus, i.e. to manage all the terms, their relations, and their scope notes inside the AGROVOC database. It is a PHP web-based application that uses a MySQL database. The system can also be used for browsing only - AGROVOC Browsing Interface -, and it is available on CD-ROM.

The tool is an Open Source software, freely available at: http://sourceforge.net/projects/agrovoct/

The AGROVOC Maintenance Tool has the following key functionalities:
• Search / Browse
• Add new terms
• Edit relationships between terms
• Modify/add descriptions (e.g. scope notes, definitions, history notes, etc.)
• Check differences in two languages
• Navigate categorisation schemes (allows to view the terms mapped to a selected category)
• Delete terms.

Future Developments

Development of AGROVOC from a ‘traditional’ thesaurus into the Agricultural Ontology Service (AOS).
• Restructuring AGROVOC from the current term-based system to a concept-based system by providing richer/refined relationships between concepts.
• Development of an Agricultural Ontology Service / Concept Server (AOS/CS) using AGROVOC as the starting point. The main objective of the AGROVOC Concept Server (CS) is to create a collaborative reference platform and a “one-stop” shop for a pool of commonly used concepts related to agriculture, containing terms, definitions and relationships between terms in multiple languages derived from various sources.
• The AGROVOC CS Workbench will serve as a tool to facilitate the transition of the current AGROVOC thesaurus into a semantically richer knowledge organization system within a distributed environment.

For further information see: http://www.fao.org/aims/agrovoccs.jsp

AGROVOC Tools Collaborative Project

FAO, the Joint Research Centre (JRC) of the European Commission and the British Geological Survey (BGS) are currently working together to rebuild the AGROVOC tools and produce a more powerful and generic Multilingual and Multi-thesauri Management Tool. The joint project, on voluntary bases, does not involve any funds. The tree organizations collected all requirements and individual needs, and they are planning to produce a new structure, composed of a thesaurus database and a web-based tool. The traditional AGROVOC browsing and maintenance tool will be reused as much as possible and new functionalities and layout will be added.

The new tool will incorporate:
• Concept and term management
• Rich relationships
• Mapping mechanisms between thesauri
• Export functionalities.

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