Report on How can we work together to integrate national agricultural information in the global information space?
The Republican Agricultural Scientific Library of SAUM in collaboration and with the support of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) organized on Tuesday, November 3, 2020, the online round table „How can we work together to integrate national agricultural information into the global information space?” using a video conferencing platform. Over 80 attendees participated in the event, including professors and researchers activating at the State Agrarian University of Moldova, journal publishers, researchers from scientific institutions in the field of agriculture, librarians from various academic and specialized libraries. The basic purpose of the round table was to strengthen the capacities of institutions and researchers in order to integrate the results of scientific research in the Republic of Moldova in the global information space.
The program covered two key topics:
- AGRIS – a portal for access to information and research data in the field of food and agriculture
- AGROVOC – a tool for agricultural information indexing and retrieval.
Ms. Imma Subirats, senior information management officer for the FAO, who coordinates the AGROVOC, AGRIS and AGORA programs, greeted the participants highlighting the importance of this event for the Republic of Moldova, the role and importance of information products AGRIS and AGROVOC for the development of agricultural science and technologies, as well as for the activity of the State Agrarian University of Moldova as an AGRIS data provider and as an AGROVOC editor. Another welcome message was from Ms. Liudmila Costin, the director of the Republican Scientific Agricultural Library, who thanked Ms. Imma Subirats for the beautiful collaboration, support and assistance provided to the library in carrying out the activity within the AGRIS system and the AGROVOC editorial community. The moderators of the event were Ms. Viorica Lupu, deputy director of the Republican Agricultural Scientific Library and Ms. Vera Sobețchi, head of the Methodology, Research and Training Center of the library.
Two of FAO’s most important information products were presented at this meeting: the AGRIS - International System for Agricultural Science and Technology and the AGROVOC multilingual thesaurus.
The AGRIS system is a global collaborative partnership, consisting of 500 data providers from 148 countries, working together to collect, manage and disseminate agricultural information and knowledge worldwide. AGRIS is a global multilingual public database with free access to approximately 12 million bibliographic records, including over 1,500 datasets, available in more than 90 languages.
For more than two decades, the Republic of Moldova has been part of the AGRIS community, contributing to this database with about 4500 bibliographic records. Until 2003, the institution responsible for AGRIS activity in Moldova was the Research Institute of Field Crops from Balti. Subsequently, this function was taken over by the Republican Scientific Agricultural Library of SAUM with attributions of AGRIS-MOLDOVA National Center. Another data provider is the Technical University of Moldova, which places the institutional scientific journal „Journal of Engineering Science” in AGRIS.
The aim of this round table was to expand the supply of agricultural content in our country within the AGRIS system.
Another item included in the agenda and discussed at the event was related to the fact that most AGRIS records are indexed based on the AGROVOC thesaurus. AGROVOC is a controlled vocabulary and a multilingual thesaurus, available in 40 languages, covering all areas of FAO interest. It includes a structured collection of about 37,000 concepts and 750,000 terms, helping to standardize the indexing process and streamline information retrieval. AGROVOC uses semantic web technologies, connecting to other knowledge organization systems.
The Republican Agricultural Scientific Library joined the AGROVOC international community in 2007, translating the AGROVOC thesaurus into Romanian and integrating Romanian agricultural terminology into the global information space. At present, the library has translated over 21,000 preferred terms (descriptors) and over 3,000 non-preferred terms (non-descriptors).
During the round table, the campaign „Increase the visibility of your research through AGRIS was launched, which aimed to increase the collection and integration of scientific works of researchers from the Republic of Moldova in the international AGRIS system. The researchers expressed their openness and desire to participate in this campaign to increase the visibility, international audience of publications, as well as their citation.
Each specific topic was followed by discussions, questions, exchange of opinions, in which the participants confronted various issues, asked questions directly or through chat and expressed their own opinions.
It was also highlighted the need to increase the role of the library as a consultancy and dissemination center for publications in the field of agriculture and related sciences in the Republic of Moldova in the global information environment, both in the AGRIS database and in other information systems. As AGRIS data providers can be institutions and organizations but not individual authors, the library will be the national focal point for collecting and providing AGRIS agricultural content to Moldovan researchers.
The Department of Science and Innovation of the State Agrarian University of Moldova and the Doctoral School of the Partnership of Agricultural Education and Research Institutions came up with the proposal to include the AGRIS and AGROVOC topics in the PhD programs for doctoral students and researchers.
Two information institutions (the Republican Technical-Scientific Library of the National Institute of Economic Research and the Central Library of Moldova State University) have expressed their willingness to become AGRIS data providers in order to integrate institutional scientific journals into AGRIS databases: the Journal „Studia Universitatis Moldaviae: Real and Nature Sciences” and the Journal „Economy and Sociology”.
The library emphasized the role of researchers in assisting librarians in the process of translating AGROVOC terms into Romanian: clarifying the meaning, context and scope of the terms, removing ambiguity and misuse of terms, etc. Researchers were encouraged to actively use the AGROVOC thesaurus as a support in retrieval information, as a tool for indexing scientific content and for translating agricultural terms into various languages.
In order to increase the relevance of using the AGROVOC thesaurus, it was decided to organize workshops for the scientific community focused on the benefits, structure, relationships between terms and search strategies in AGROVOC. We really hope that this round table has encouraged researchers to be both consumers of FAO-generated products, but also to become partners in their development.
Perspective directions / Recommendations
- Strengthening the efforts of research institutions in promoting the scientific results of researchers in the field of agriculture;
- Adherence of the Republican Technical-Scientific Library of the National Institute of Economic Research to the AGRIS community as a data provider for the institutional journal „Economy and Sociology”;
- Adherence of the Central Library of Moldova State University to the AGRIS community as a data provider for the journal „Studia Universitatis Moldaviae: Real and Nature Sciences”;
- Active involvement of researchers in developing the Campaign „Increase the visibility of your research through AGRIS!”;
- Developing and using various ways to integrate agricultural information and data in the AGRIS database (data harvesting from the digital repository, data export from the Open Journal System platform etc.);
- Organizing various specialized trainings for researchers on the possibilities, functionalities and strategies of information searching in AGRIS; How to submit metadata in the ZOTERO reference management tool;
- Integrating the subjects regarding the AGRIS system and the AGROVOC thesaurus in the training programs for researchers, doctoral students etc.;
- Organizing specialized trainings for researchers regarding the content, the structure of the thesaurus, the search strategies and the possibilities of use;
- Promotion of the AGRIS and AGROVOC guides and ensuring their availability.