AIMS Newsletter no. 26, January 2014

VocBench 2.0 : major achievements

After more than a year of development, Vocbench 2.0 has been put in production for AGROVOC and a few other datasets last November. It also covered the development of the new AGROVOC Web Services and several improvements to a range of Linked Open Datasets. This first release has met the pursued objectives of enabling a quicker – dataset independent – setup, by providing a collaborative platform for management of SKOSXL thesauri.

Main features:

  • Import/export of RDF data from/into the most notable serialization formats for both triples and quads
  • Complete separation of data and vocabulary (e.g. in AGROVOC, the dataset is separated from its property vocabulary, called Agrontology)
  • Native support for SKOSXL
  • Import of OWL vocabularies
  • A much quicker and easier installation.
  • The possibility to have "extension points" for plugins, like new services, connection to different RDF Graph Store technologies, etc. The extension mechanism is based on the OSGi (Open Service Gateway initiative) standard.

Some more functionalities which may be more evident to end users are the following:

  • Multi scheme management. Several skos:ConceptSchemes can be developed for the same dataset, providing different views on the data (the FAO "Land and Water" thesaurus is currently using this feature)
  • Statistics module: a module providing resuming information about the loaded data (with several modules, providing anything from mere number of triples to more complex resumes, filtered/organized per language/user/taxonomy branches etc…)
  • New tabs for covering extensively the SKOSXL standard

The Vocbench 2.0 didn’t bring many more functionalities to the users, but "VB2.0 brought VocBench to more users". The possibilities offered by this more flexible architecture attracted other potential users outside FAO, while the project is gathering progressively more attention, especially in organizations in need of managing and delivering large datasets.

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"The history of VocBench, what we have been doing during the last 15 months and what the future holds" an interview with Armando Stellato

Dr. Armando Stellato has been collaborating with the AIMS team for many years now. He is currently leading the development of VocBench, a web-based, multi-lingual, editing and workflow tool that manages thesauri, authority lists and glossaries that use SKOSXL. Recently Vocbench 2.0 has been released, providing the perfect occasion to ask him some questions. He kindly gave us an exhaustive overview of the history and current status of the thesauri management tool and talked about the next steps. 

Read the interview "The history of VocBench, what we have been doing during the last 15 months and what the future holds" an interview with Dr. Armando Stellato from the University of Rome "Tor Vergata" in the AIMS Interviews section.

The scope of the AIMS Newsletter is to bring under the attention of the AIMS community recent news, events and achievements in the field of agricultural information management. If you have any contribution, suggestion, or need assistance with the newsletter, please contact us at

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