AGROVOC in 2020

This year has been an important one for AGROVOC. With over 38,100 concepts and 800,000 terms in 40 languages, AGROVOC continues being the most popular thesaurus in food and agriculture, but also covering all FAO’s areas of interest. 

AGROVOC has received over 34 million visits in 2020, 60% more than 2019.  I am also delighted to announce a list of new publications related to AGROVOC. Special thanks to all the AGROVOC editorial panthers who have contributed with translations for the AGROVOC brochure, now available in 25 languages. The new website has also become a key element for the promotion and accessibility of AGROVOC at


FAO. 2020. The AGROVOC Editorial Guidelines 2020. Rome.

For many years, the most substantial work in maintaining AGROVOC was carried out by FAO based on internal guidelines, openly published in 2008 and 2015 but not regularly updated. However, with a shift to distributed management of AGROVOC by working with editors worldwide, clear, concise and agreed guidelines are needed to guarantee consistency and coherence on selection of concepts and terms, e.g. to clarify whether to use the singular or plural in each language, how to deal with proper names, scientific names, and geographical names, etc. The guidelines also apply to subvocabularies in AGROVOC. This guide is a set of editorial recommendations for adding content to AGROVOC, with a strong focus on multilingual aspects. Pending final publication in Romanian.

FAO. 2020. AGROVOC: The linked data concept hub for food and agriculture. Rome.

This brochure provides the latest technical developments and outcomes of the most recent AGROVOC, a controlled vocabulary and thesaurus which covers all areas of FAO’s work,  editorial meetings. Also available in French ; Spanish ; Arabic ; Russian ; Chinese ; Portuguese ; Turkish ; Georgian ; Slovak ; Ukranian ; German ; Catalan ; Farsi ; Serbian ; Czech ; Hungarian ; Belarusian ; Italian ; Romanian ; Lao ; Korean ; Danish ; Thai ; Swahili ; and Norwegian.

FAO. 2020. The AGROVOC editorial community 2018–2020. Rome.

Since 2018, AGROVOC has been expanding its coverage through collaboration with communities of experts to include specialized domains that benefit from the AGROVOC infrastructure. Up to 25 national and international organizations volunteer to contribute to different language versions and subject domains as part of the AGROVOC editorial community. Once a year, the AGROVOC editorial community meets to discuss new technical improvements and priorities for further development. This report provides an overview of the latest technical developments and outcomes of the most recent AGROVOC editorial meetings. Pending final publication in English.

FAO. 2020. AGROVOC Semantic data interoperability on food and agriculture. Rome.

Over recent years, AGROVOC has evolved to become a valued information resource worldwide with more than 30 million accesses a year. This book aims to increase awareness of the use of AGROVOC to enhance the accessibility and visibility of information and data, as well as to inform about the latest technical developments, recommended standards and various ways to engage with AGROVOC. This publication is especially targeted at individuals and institutions who are interested in controlled vocabularies and SKOS, who may also wish to use AGROVOC or improve its usage, and those who may wish to contribute to AGROVOC, either through the AGROVOC editorial community or as part of a community of experts. Pending final publication in English.

Subirats, I. and Zeng, M.L. 2020. Linked Open Data Enabled Bibliographical Data (LODE-BD) 3.0 – A practical guide on how to select appropriate encoding strategies for producing Linked Open Data Enabled Bibliographical Data. Rome, FAO. 

This practical guide is the latest version of the LODE-BD which was initially issued in 2011 and updated in 2015 (LODE-BD 2.0) with major changes, including a crosswalk of metadata terms used in LODE-BD and (see Table 4 and Appendix). In this new version, authors have included metadata describing research data resources, based on the experience of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations’ (FAO) International System for Agricultural Science and Technology (AGRIS) pilot project which integrates research datasets metadata from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), and guidance from Data Catalog Vocabulary (DCAT)-Version 2, a World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Recommendation released in February 2020.

FAO. 2020. AGRIS, the International System for Agricultural Science and Technology. Rome

AGRIS has evolved to become an acknowledged information resource worldwide by moving from paper to digital, and from a centralized model to a distributed network. This guide aims to update the AGRIS community about the latest technical developments, recommended standards and various ways to engage with AGRIS. Also available in Romanian.

FAO. 2020. Scientific information and digital data on food and agriculture made available, accessible and applicable worldwide. Rome.

This brochure presents a series of knowledge platforms which make data and information on food and agriculture available, accessible and usable worldwide. This work contributes to the five priorities of FAO to achieve a world without hunger, malnutrition and poverty in a sustainable manner, with a focus on the exchange of knowledge, information and data as a key step towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Also available in French and Spanish.

FAO. 2020. Access to Global Online Research in Agriculture (AGORA) User Guide. Rome. 

This is a user guide which has been developed to provide information on AGORA and Research4Life, as well as on how to support partner organizations in eligible countries to use the platform. The first part of this guide provides general information for all countries and the second part provides more specific information for the countries that are eligible for Research4Life. Also available in French and Spanish.