Newsletter no. 5, October 2011

Agricultural Information Management Standards (AIMS)
no. 5, October 2011

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AIMS in Action


Monthly Spotlight

AgriOcean DSpace. ASFA Advisory Board Meeting

AGRIS. Advanced Search: existence queries

AGROVOC. Workshop on VocBench for Asian region

AMS. AGRIS AP DTD increases flexibility

Open Access. Open Access Week events in Peru

OpenAGRIS. AGRIS RDF 2005-2011 published

VOA3R. Alternative review process experiment

More at Communities

Upcoming Events

Croatia. INFuture

France. 3rd IC3K

Germany. LISC 2011

Ghana. Open Access Africa 2011

India. INSEE Seminar

Malaysia. ICIEIS2011

Online event. Library 2.011

Russian Federation. RCDL'2011

Turkey. MTSR 2011

United Republic of Tanzania. 37th IAMSLIC

USA. Berlin 9

USA. VuStuff II

More at Events Service


OpenAgris: aggregating Web resources on agricultural topics

Spreading and exchanging agricultural information is a critical issue to allow researchers and other stakeholders to access and use the knowledge in the agricultural sector. The AGRIS team proposes a new approach that allows to merge and integrate all information available on the Web about a specific agricultural topic by the usage of the most modern Linked Open Data technologies. Leveraging on its previous work on AGRIS, a public domain database with nearly 3 million structured bibliographical records on agricultural science, the team developed a Semantic Web platform, OpenAgris, which aggregates information extracted from the Web, providing as much data as possible about a topic or a bibliographical resource.

The main problem with AGRIS records is that the information they provide, like title and author, is not necessarily all what the user is looking for. Users often look for example for the full text or for information related to the main topics of the resource. To solve this issue, the AGRIS team became part of the LOD cloud, translated the AGRIS repository to RDF, a language for expressing data models using statements expressed as triples (subject, predicate, and object), and published it on the Web. This way they created the possibility to query other datasets and extract and integrate other useful information related to AGRIS records. The team defined two different RDF datasets: the AGRIS records dataset (the direct translation of AGRIS records to RDF), and the AGRIS journals dataset (82.11% of AGRIS records are journal articles).

The data flow of OpenAgris is very easy: starting from the resource requested by the user, OpenAgris queries the Agrovoc RDF repository to extract keywords for the specific resource and relationships to other datasets, such as DBPedia. If the resource is a journal article, the engine queries the AGRIS journals dataset, obtaining information about the journal, related articles not only from the same journal but also about the same topics. This process can be extended to all areas of interest of the linked open data cloud, obtaining all possible types of information about the specific resource and its main topics.



AIMS present at DC-2011

DC-2011, the eleventh International Conference on Dublin Core and Metadata Applications, took place at the National Library of the Netherlands in The Hague from 21 through 23 September 2011. The AIMS team presented the paper Thesaurus Alignment for Linked Data Publishing on the Linked Data version of AGROVOC with reliable links to other thesauri, following a procedure that is fully replicable. In addition the team presented the poster 'Metadata Approaches for Shareable and LOD-enabled Bibliographic Data from Open Repositories' and was one of the convenors of the workshop Vocabulary management and alignment session. The workshop explored the scope and nature of vocabulary management issues.

EIFL: transform lives through innovative services in public libraries

AIMS has started a collaboration with Electronic Information for Libraries(EIFL), especially with its Public Library Innovation Programme(PLIP). PLIP helps public libraries in developing countries to use ICT to provide innovative community services. One of their main focus areas is agriculture. AIMS will disseminate through news and blog entries PLIP’s important work in the field. EIFl from its side is very interested in deepening the FAO-EIFL relationship and will communicate to their public library community what is happening at AIMS. Electronic Information for Libraries (EIFL) is an international not-for-profit organisation based since 2009 in Europe that partners with libraries and library consortia in more than 45 developing and transition countries in Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America. Its goal: enable access to digital information to contribute to sustainable economic and social development.

OAI-PMH module for AgriDrupal

The module provides an implementation of the Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting (OAI-PMH) for Drupal with support for CCK content types and their fields to expose content (metadata) and be accessible by OAI harvesters. The module is a re-factoring of the oai2cck module available on, which is not actively maintained and produced some invalid output. Now the module allows to expose data also in AGRIS AP: in the Agridrupal platform this works out of the box with the DLIO content type and no customizations are needed. If you want to use the AGRIS AP feature in any Drupal installation, you need to install the DLIO content type (available as a feature in few days on our ftp). We are working on a new version of this module to make it more flexible and usable out of box with any kind of content type and fields, as it works for Dublin Core.

More news at Of Interest

5 Questions in 5 Minutes with Krishan J. Bheenick


Who are the users of AIMS and what do they think about agricultural information management standards? In this section AIMS users from around the world answer five questions on the benefits and use of the AIMS website.

Tell us something about yourself... what is your background and role in the organization you are working for?
Having taught ‘Agricultural Systems’ and ‘Computer applications in Agriculture’ at the University of Mauritius, I started applying the 'systems' approach to the development of information systems in agriculture. This experience has taken me from sharing my conceptual models of institutional systems to conceptualizing national systems as I joined the Food and Agricultural Research Council. Between 2006-2010, I was based at the SADCSecretariat, as part of the EU-funded ICARTproject, helping my peers in 15 countries develop strategies and systems to manage agricultural information, contributing to the SADC-Agricultural Management Information Systems Programme. I was also able to interact at regional level with International Cooperating Partners such as FARA, GFAR , FAO & the ICT-KM program of the CG as part of the CIARD initiative. Since January 2011, I am back at the Food and Agricultural Council in Mauritius, attempting to validate the fact that, through the new ICTs, one can still be active at regional and global level while being based within a national institution.

How did you get in contact with AIMS?
I came across the AIMS website back in 2005-06 when I was looking for standards in agricultural information management. I was very pleased to see that there was a group of people already proposing to work on a set of standards for information management with the scope of interoperability, ranging from how to organise information about experts to statistical datasets. I tried to understand more about the terms being used like Dublin Core, ontologies, semantics, metadata harvesting etc. but got a bit lost. I later got acquainted with some of the people working on these issues, but they still use a complex language that is sometimes hard for a newcomer to understand.

What is your opinion on AIMS?
I was very enthusiastic about the set of standards that AIMS proposed to develop in 8-9 categories of information in 2006. It comforted me that I was not alone reflecting on these issues. However, progress seemed to be focused more on issues such as feeds and vocabularies. More recently there has been more explanatory information on issues like Open Access which enables a non-expert to better understand the topics AIMS is dealing with. Presentations and explanations of the concepts being dealt with, catering for the ‘newbie’ to standards, should be encouraged. This could be done through the user community forums and by linking the site to related information management initiatives– enabling more people to appreciate the issues and contribute to the implementation of standards.

According to you, what is the most important benefit that AIMS provides to the agricultural information management community?
AIMS provides a sense of direction and guidance on the tools that can be used for implementation of standards. Providing more information on standards on varying levels of users can only improve the impact the available information resources will have on the community. The Newsletter is a refreshing and useful channel to put the developments in this area into an ‘easier’ language to understand and bring the readers to re-visit their actions and contributions to the community.

How do you think that information management standards can contribute to agricultural research for development?
We are living in an era in which the inter-dependence of ‘speciality’ areas and scientific disciplines has been realized, hence the increasing need for multi-disciplinary teams and skills. The focus is now on how to also dovetail the information and knowledge resources of those disciplines. Agriculture is already a complex subject, but the development of standards, with the concept of inter-operability constantly in the background, can help us pool our knowledge in a more effective manner. Nevertheless, this requires constant dialogue on the issue of standards among technicians, but also better communication of the initiatives and standards with the non-technical stakeholders – a responsibility that can be borne by the AIMS community.

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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