Home Data Science and GovernanceData Management AGROVOC: An Introduction to the World’s Largest Agricultural Vocabulary

AGROVOC: An Introduction to the World’s Largest Agricultural Vocabulary

by Massimo

Discover AGROVOC, the concept scheme that organizes the domains related to agriculture, and learn how it is organized, the difference between concepts and terms, and how to use the AGROVOC RDF file.

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The RDF concept

Resource Description Framework (RDF) is a standard framework for describing resources on the web, which is used to model and store metadata about resources. RDF provides a structured way to represent data in a graph format that consists of nodes and edges, where nodes represent resources, and edges represent the relationships between them.

RDF is based on a subject-predicate-object model, where the subject represents the resource being described, the predicate represents the relationship between the subject and object, and the object represents the value or resource that is related to the subject.

RDF data is typically expressed in triples, which consist of three parts: the subject, the predicate, and the object. The subject and object can be either a URI or a literal value, while the predicate is always a URI that defines the relationship between the subject and object.

RDF also supports the use of ontologies, which are formal descriptions of concepts and their relationships, to provide a standardized vocabulary for describing resources. These ontologies can be used to create domain-specific vocabularies, such as FOAF (Friend of a Friend) for describing people and their relationships, or Dublin Core for describing resources on the web.

RDF data can be serialized into various formats, including RDF/XML, Turtle, N-Triples, and JSON-LD, which enables it to be easily integrated with other web technologies and applications.


AGROVOC: An Introduction to a Concept Scheme for Agriculture

AGROVOC is a concept scheme that aims to organize the domains related to agriculture. In simpler terms, AGROVOC is like a big dictionary of terms and concepts that relate to agriculture.

AGROVOC is a full-fledged web-oriented resource available in RDF (Resource Description Framework). RDF is a standard model used for data interchange on the web. In other words, RDF allows machines to understand and process data on the web. AGROVOC is organized as a hierarchy of concepts that have names in various languages. These concepts are represented by terms, which are words used to name a concept. For example, “maize” is a term used to represent the concept of a type of crop.

AGROVOC concepts are hierarchically organized under 25 general top concepts such as activities, processes, and methods. These concepts may also be linked by non-hierarchical relations. AGROVOC is an RDF/SKOS-XL concept scheme, which means that it uses the SKOS (Simple Knowledge Organization System) extension for labels. This allows for more expressivity when describing concepts and terms.

So what can you do with the AGROVOC RDF file? The AGROVOC RDF file is a file containing the AGROVOC data in RDF-SKOS format. It is not a program to install but rather a file that is meant to be read by machines. You can load it into a triple store or an RDF editor/viewer, or parse it with an application. Once in your triple store, you can manipulate the data and use it in your application.

If you simply want to look at the AGROVOC content, you can use the online AGROVOC browsing tool or the web-based AGROVOC editing tool. These tools allow you to browse through the terms and concepts in AGROVOC and learn more about agriculture-related topics.

Example of RDF/XML from Agrovoc

<?xml version=”1.0″?>

<skos:Concept rdf:about=”http://id.agrisemantics.org/gacs/C16010″>
<skos:prefLabel xml:lang=”en”>Agricultural machinery</skos:prefLabel>
<skos:altLabel xml:lang=”en”>Agricultural equipment</skos:altLabel>
<skos:altLabel xml:lang=”en”>Farming equipment</skos:altLabel>
<skos:broader rdf:resource=”http://id.agrisemantics.org/gacs/C161″/>
<skos:narrower rdf:resource=”http://id.agrisemantics.org/gacs/C160″/>
<skos:inScheme rdf:resource=”http://id.agrisemantics.org/gacs/”/>
<agrovoc:note xml:lang=”en”>Includes all kinds of machines used in agricultural production, processing and handling of crops and livestock, as well as equipment for land preparation and maintenance.</agrovoc:note>


In this example, the RDF/XML represents a concept in the Agrovoc agricultural thesaurus, specifically the concept for “Agricultural machinery”. The rdf:RDF element is the root element of the RDF document, which contains the namespaces for RDF, SKOS, and Agrovoc.

The skos:Concept element represents the concept, and the rdf:about attribute specifies the URI for the concept. The skos:prefLabel element represents the preferred label for the concept, while the skos:altLabel elements represent alternative labels.

The skos:broader and skos:narrower elements represent broader and narrower relationships between this concept and other concepts in the Agrovoc thesaurus. The skos:inScheme element indicates that the concept belongs to the Agrovoc concept scheme.

Finally, the agrovoc:note element provides additional information about the concept, specifically a note about what kinds of machinery and equipment are included in the concept.

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