Latest Developments in the Chinese Agricultural Information Management Sector

1.    Tell us briefly about yourself and your work at the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Science (CAAS) 

I have a Bachelor degree in Library and Information Science and a Master in Information Science at the University of Heilongjiang. I did my PhD in Information Science at the National Science Library (NSLC) of the Chinese Academy of Science (CAS). Since 1991, I am working as a docent in information management at the University of Heilongjiang. I became professor of information management in 2004 and since 2006, I am working for the Agriculture Information Institute of Chinese Academy of Agricultural Science (AII/CAAS) in the division for digital libraries, databases and networks. Since 2007, I am supervising PhD students at CAAS and since 2013, I am the director of Knowledge Engineering Division (KED, formally Agricultural Information Laboratory), mainly engaged in research and application of theory, methods and technology in agricultural knowledge management.

2.    How do the Chinese information management community in general and the “Knowledge Management Roadmap of CAAS“ project in particular benefit from AIMS?

The “Knowledge Management Roadmap of CAAS“ project will surely benefit from AIMS in several ways. The program for developing a roadmap for knowledge management in China is led by CAAS and supported by GFAR and FAO. The roadmap is a vision for 2030 and will build an agricultural knowledge management platform to provide better information and knowledge services for agricultural researchers,managers and farmers. We have already conducted studies on the topic and we are in close exchange with experts from the World Food Program (WFP), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the Global Forum on Agricultural Research (GFAR) and other institutions.

We can use several resources from AIMS for the project, like for example the AGROVOC thesaurus/ the Global Agricultural Concept Scheme (GACS) or tools that are available in the VEST directory such as the Agrotagger. Furthermore we can benefit from the AIMS community communication and good practices.

In general, the Chinese information management community can benefit from the mapping between AGROVOC and the China Agricultural Thesaurus (CAT) to effectively support agricultural information management and sharing. The mapping itself was finished in 2008, but since then both thesauri have been further developed.  

In the future, we also hope to use AIMS as a communication tool to discuss and exchange experiences with international experts from the information and knowledge management domain.

3.    What are the current developments on knowledge and information management in agriculture in China and, in your opinion, the most important highlights for the future?

I think that there are developments on three different levels within the area of Chinese agricultural information and knowledge management:

The first level is focused on the integration and retrieval of information resources. The Chinese National Agricultural Library purchased a large number of digital resources that usually come from different platforms. Currently these platforms have to be browsed separately by users. To facilitate the retrieval of information, heterogeneous data integration becomes more and more important. In CAAS, the integration of different data has become a reality through the “Chinese Agricultural Science and Technology Literature and Information Service platform” . Another system that integrates data and that is similar to AGRIS is the “China Agricultural Science Digest Database” (CASDD). CASDD was developed by KED. Additionally, the construction of the GACS contributes to further developments of automatic indexing in the agricultural domain, and will support China's agricultural information and knowledge management.

Another development within Chinese information management takes place on a semantic level. The usage of semantic formats enables the association of different thesauri like CAT, AGROVOC, GACS etc. and this will support users to search efficiently for agricultural information and knowledge. For this reason the Chinese Agricultural Thesaurus (CAT) was published as Linked Open Data in 2013.

The third level refers to the provision of knowledge management services. Based on semantic information retrieval, we will try to provide users with knowledge services such as “Know-What”, Know–How”, Know-Why” and other knowledge management solutions for agricultural research and innovation.

I think that the most important elements in CAAS knowledge management will be the discovery, mining, analysis and sharing of knowledge to support decision making and agricultural innovation.