The Global Agricultural Concept Scheme and Agrisemantics

Thomas Baker, Caterina Caracciolo, Anton Doroszenko, Lori Finch, Osma Suominen, Sujata Suri


Key concepts from three thesauri about agriculture and
nutrition -- AGROVOC, CAB Thesaurus, and NAL Thesaurus -- have been merged into
a Global Agricultural Concept Scheme (GACS). The respective partner
organizations -- Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO), CAB
International (CABI), and the USDA National Agricultural Library (NAL) --
undertook this initiative in 2013 with the goal of facilitating search across
databases, improving the semantic reach of their databases by supporting queries
that freely draw on terms from any mapped thesaurus, and achieving economies of
scale from joint maintenance. The GACS beta release of May 2016 has 15,000
concepts and over 350,000 terms in 28 languages. Some inevitable results of this
process of aggregation, such as overlapping labels, have already been fixed.
Other issues, such as concepts with multiple hierarchical relations
("polyhierarchy"), have yet to be tackled. GACS is seen as a first step for
Agrisemantics, an emerging community network of semantic assets relevant to
agriculture and food security.

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