Agricultural Information Management Standards


Agricultural Information Management Standards

The Agricultural Information Management Standards, abbreviated to AIMS, is an initiative started by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations. The overall aim of the initiative is to improve coherence among agricultural information systems. The immediate goal of this project is to create a clearing house for information management standards, which will help to make existing or new agricultural information systems interoperable, and allow for sharing and promoting the uptake of common methodologies, standards and applications. The AIMS website provides lists of tools to facilitate interoperability between existing agricultural datasets, and methods for creating new systems that use consistent and commonly accepted standards in the description of information related to agriculture and similar fields.

The initiative is a collaborative effort between various partner agricultural [http://www.fao.org/aims/intro_partners.jsp] organizations which share a common goal to improve coherence amongst agricultural information systems through shared standards and tools.

Standards and tools for managing and sharing information

Metadata Standards

A metadata set consists of elements in which each element refers to a label that describes particular information about a resource. A resource here is defined as "anything that has an identity". In the context of the Document-like Information Objects, a resource could be, for example, a document, monograph, web page, project report, etc. The AgMES is an initiative that aims to encompass issues of semantic standards in the domain of agriculture with respect to description, resource discovery, interoperability and metadata exchange for different types of information resources.

Knowledge Organization Systems

Within the domain of agriculture, there are several different knowledge organizations systems (KOS) currently in use. Some of the most prominent ones are grouped and presented here, with links to their original sites. You can browse the KOS registry through:
* [http://www.fao.org/aims/index_es.jsp?callingPage=kos_list_type.htm type of KOS]
* [http://www.fao.org/aims/kos_list_dom.htm?filterXmlParamenter=Agriculture+-+General&selectedXmlFilter=Agriculture+-+General domain area covered by the KOS]

Although there exists a plethora of knowledge organization systems, there is still a need to formally structure the context and meaning of terms. An ontology takes the existing knowledge organization systems such as AGROVOC one step further by structuring the terms more formally, and by providing richer relationships between concepts than those currently provided in thesauri. The Agricultural Concept Server is the first step towards an "Ontology Service". Ontology is a new concept that is emerging from the various semantic Web initiatives, which roughly speaking can be defined as a semantic system that contains terms, the definitions of those terms, and the specification of relationships among those terms. Such a semantic system can be referred to as an "Ontology Service".

Tools

* [http://www.fao.org/aims/tools_meta.jsp Metadata/Cataloguing Tools] : This page brings together a summary of known metadata tools used for creating metadata for various types of resources. It includes tools for entering and editing metadata, and utilities for processing, extracting, validating, and viewing metadata. Some of these tools allow for metadata to be served up in different formats, such as XML, RDF, XHTML, ISO2709 etc. Some tools are based on established metadata standards while others produce metadata based specifically on local application profiles.

* [http://www.fao.org/aims/tools_onto.jsp Ontology Tools] : When working on an ontology project, one of the steps is to find a suitable ontology creation and maintenance tool. There are a number of ontology editors currently available to help in the process of ontology development. Some tools can help to acquire, organize, edit, visualize and maintain domain knowledge and aid in the building of an ontology. Ontologies are available in different formats: XML/RDF, OWL-Full, OWL-Lite, etc. Most tools offer the possibility to import and export ontologies in various formats, as required by the specific implementation/applications.

* [http://www.fao.org/aims/tools_thes.jsp Thesaurus Tools] : A number of commercial thesaurus management tools are currently available on the market. However, here we have listed only the freely available tools.

* [http://www.fao.org/aims/tools_misc.jsp Miscellaneous Tools] : This page lists tools such as validators, parsers, etc.

Publications

Most [http://www.fao.org/aims/pub_feature.jsp recent publications] on topics covering agricultural information management using metadata standards, ontologies, classification schemes etc. are available for download from the Web site.

Discussion Lists

* [http://www.dgroups.org/groups/fao/agstandards/index.cfm?op=dsp_join Agstandards] : This is a forum established for discussing metadata standards and the development of multilingual thesauri and ontologies.

* [http://www.dgroups.org/groups/fao/agrovoc/index.cfm?op=dsp_join AGROVOC] : AGROVOC is a multilingual structured and controlled vocabulary designed to cover the terminology of all subject fields in agriculture, forestry, fisheries, food and related domains (e.g. environment).

* [http://www.dgroups.org/groups/fao/agris/index.cfm?op=dsp_join AGRIS Application Profile] : This workspace is for members of the AGRIS community who wish to export their data to the central database in XML format using the guidelines given in the AGRIS AP document.

* [http://www.dgroups.org/groups/imarked/webagris/index.cfm?op=dsp_join Webagris] : AGRIS Resource centres are encouraged to upgrade their data input facilities from the previous ISIS Dos to the new WebAGRIS system. WebAGRIS offers greater functionality, and a more user-friendly environment. The system uses WWW-ISIS software for publishing ISIS databases on the web.

Related links

* Agricultural Ontology Service
* Agricultural Metadata Element Set
* AGROVOC
* [http://www.fao.org/documents/advanced_s_result.asp?FORM_C=AND&SERIES=339 Agricultural Information and Knowledge Management Papers]
* [http://www.fao.org/nems/rss/rss_nems_results.asp?owner=615&status=10&dateto=31/12/2006&lang=en&sites=1 RSS feed of news and events]

External links

* [http://www.fao.org/aims/ Agricultural Information Management Standards Website]
* [http://www.fao.org/documents/advanced_s_result.asp?FORM_C=AND&SERIES=339 Agricultural Information and Knowledge Management Papers]
* [http://www.fao.org/nems/rss/rss_nems_results.asp?owner=615&status=10&dateto=31/12/2006&lang=en&sites=1 RSS feed of news and events]


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