Bridging End Users’ Terms and AGROVOC Concept Server Vocabularies

Ahsan Morshed, Gudrun Johannsen, Johannes Keizer, Marcia Lei Zeng


AGROVOC is one of the most important resources for covering the terminology of all subjects to interest the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) (including agriculture, forestry, fisheries, food and related domains). AGROVOC is a multilingual thesaurus developed by FAO and the Commission of the European Communities in the early 80s. Since then it has continuously been updated by FAO in collaboration with partner organizations in different countries, and is now available online in 19 languages .

AGROVOC is currently being converted from a traditional term-based knowledge organization system (KOS) to a concept-based system (Soergel, 2004), the AGROVOC Concept Server (CS). The CS allows the representation of more semantics such as specific relationships between concepts as well as relationships between their multilingual lexicalizations. Its functions include being a resource to help structure and standardize agricultural terminology in multiple languages for use by any number of different users and systems around the world. An enabling tool, the AGROVOC Concept Server Workbench (ACSW), has been developed by FAO in collaboration with Kasetsart University in Thailand and other partners. It supports the maintenance of the CS data in a distributed environment (Sini, 2008). One of the goals of the project is to set up a network of international experts who can share the collaborative maintenance and extension of the AGROVOC CS, and thus enhance the creation of agricultural knowledge much more efficiently. The ACSW is part of the larger Agricultural Ontology Service (AOS) initiative and the first major step towards an "Ontology Service" (Fisseha, 2001), which aims to provide semantic-based services to users in the agricultural domain. To cover all agricultural related information, ACSW needs integrated vocabularies.

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