AIMS Newsletter no, 35 November 2014

Focus on SemaGrow

SemaGrow is an European three-years project with the objective to discover possibilities to handle big data in agriculture. The SemaGrow consortium seeks to develop techniques for distributed Web queries, data and metadata mapping as well as methodologies for scaling up to extremely large data volumes and real time performances.

More specifically, SemaGrow is strongly focused to:

  • Carry out and deliver fundamental research related to the development of novel indexing and reactive algorithms and the rigorous analysis of their complexity; – Develop infrastructural components: this is based on the POWDER framework and aims to create a significant breakthrough in semantic infrastructures;
  • Rigorous testing in a realistic environment: this is taking place over currently existing and realistically projected volumes of data for 2015 and beyond;
  • Realistic ideas for possible deployments: this is actually taking the form of operational service prototypes that real users will test during controlled trials, together with prototype integration with an already deployed data infrastructure.

FAO holds the role of a data, demonstration and pilot partner of the project, implementing a reactive data analysis use case. Inter alia FAO contributes to the project with the AGRIS database that serves as a demonstrator of the technical developments within SemaGrow. The second project period of SemaGrow has ended at the 31st of October 2014. This is a small wrap up of the first achievements from the AGRIS Use Case that was developed in collaboration between FAO and SemaGrow: The SemaGrow demonstrator for the AGRIS use case with its two backend components (AgroTagger and Web Crawler) was delivered by the FAO. The Web Crawler is a tool to search the web in order to find bibliographic data, texts, articles etc on agriculture. AgroTagger is an automatic keyword extractor, that was trained by FAO. It will automatically connect the results of the web crawler with the corresponding AGROVOC keywords in form of RDF-triples. Afterwards the connection between the agricultural resources and their keywords can be stored in a triple store that is called the “crawler database”. This database can be queried by AGRIS. The two backend components of the SemaGrow demonstrator were presented in a webinar by FAO and tested by the participants and other interested professionals. The next step will be the combination of the AGRIS database with the “crawler database”. Afterwards a widget can be created that will use pre-defined SPARQL queries to combine an AGRIS record with data from the SemaGrow triple store. The SemaGrow project provides the infrastructure and the computing power for these processes.

Read more about SemaGrow here

Highlights from the community

  • SemaGrow perfomed as scheduled, after its second year SemaGrow presented its first results on the delivery of the infrastructure and the demonstrators. For example,the SemaGrow demonstrator for the AGRIS use case with its back end components –AgroTagger and Webcrawler, were delivered the FAO. More info 
  • VocBench 2.2 has been released. After 7 months a new VocBench 2.2 has been released. The new version adds important changes to the IS, changes to the ST instance manager and various user experience and other new features. More info
  • Sheet2RDF: lifting spreadsheets to RDF. Sheet2RDF is an extension of CODA,a general architecture for the triplification of unstructured information, based in turn on Apache UIMA (Unstructured Information Management Architecture). More info
  • Plantwise knowledge bank wins Open Data Award for Social Impact . On 4 November, the CABI-led Plantwise programme was named winner of the 2014 Open Data Award for Social Impact. This is the latest accolade for this innovative open access platform for knowledge to help farmers lose less of what they grow to crop pests and diseases. More info
  • COAR, CASRAI and regional repository networks launch international group to improve interoperability. COAR launched an international, multi-stakeholder working group to develop a strategy to ensure greater interoperability across repository networks and other platforms. COAR will be the convener of the working group, and CASRAI will facilitate the process of developing the strategy. More info
  • ODS webinar on metadata harvesting. The 12th webinar in the Open Discovery Space series is entitled "Metadata Ingestion in ODS". It targeted content providers, but anyone willing to know how to mix and match metadata schemas found it interesting. More info
  • The AIMS interface has been completely redesigned to simplify user interactions. This insightful interview with Andrea Di Sabatino from Macaroni Bros has been involved in the development of AIMS for more than 4 years and their latest task was to migrate AIMS from Drupal 6 to Drupal 7. More info

Conferences and Workshops

Upcoming Webinars

The following webinars are on schedule and/or an plan,

  • TBA. Research Metrics and Almetrics in light of Open Access, by  Hugo Besemer from the University of Wageningen


What is automatic keyword extraction ? Automatic keyword extraction is the task to identify a small set of words, key phrases, keywords, or key segments from a document that can describe the meaning of the document . It should be done systematically and with either minimal or no human intervention, depending on the model. The goal of automatic extraction is to apply the power and speed of computation to the problems of access and discoverability, adding value to information organization and retrieval without the significant costs and drawbacks associated with human indexers (Oelze, 2009)

More info:

"reflecting on the semagrow achievements and the project highlights" an interview with NIKOLAOS marianos

Nikolaos Marianos is the Project Management Director at Agro-Know and in the context of SemaGrow he is the main Project Manager (PMP certified) of AK and this later capacity we asked him (and jointly with Fabrizio Celli) for more insight on the developments and achievements delivered by the SemaGrow project. The responses dovetail with the leading article of this newsletter.

Read the interview "Reflecting on the SemaGrow Achievements and the Project highlights " found 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 [email protected]

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