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1. Introduction

The first COAIM (Consultation on Agricultural Information Management), held in June 2000 recognized that AGRIS should become “a key enabler and catalyst to establish a new model of agricultural information management”. Furthermore, it was agreed that FAO [1] should develop AGRIS into a capacity building initiative as well as an information system. The AGRIS network now has 201 Resource Centres, which vary in their resources and level of participation in the network, and opportunities exist to improve the effectiveness of the initiative through enhanced collaboration.

A proposal for a new metadata standard for AGRIS reference was presented at COAIM 2002. This paper is a result of the evaluations made during COAIM 2002. It defines a set of high quality metadata on scientific and technical papers, and is directed at improving accessibility of materials on the Web. The standard also covers the necessary metadata for retrieving publications that are available only in paper format or that have restricted access.

The AGRIS Application Profile (AGRIS AP) is a metadata standard created specifically to enhance the description, exchange and subsequent retrieval of agricultural Document-Like Information Objects (DLIOs). It is a metadata schema which draws elements from well known Metadata standards such as Dublin Core (DC), Australian Government Locator Service Metadata (AGLS) and Agricultural Metadata Element Set (AgMES) namespaces. It allows sharing of information across dispersed bibliographic systems and provides guidelines on recommended best practices for cataloguing and subject indexing. The AGRIS AP is a major step towards exchanging high-quality and medium-complex metadata in an application independent format.

The AGRIS AP is based on the Dublin Core Elements and Qualifiers [2], the Agricultural Metadata Element Set [3], and the Australian Government Locator Service Metadata Set [4].

This document provides the best practices on the description of the AGRIS AP elements.

1.1 Goals and Objectives

The goal of the AGRIS Application Profile (AGRIS AP) is to facilitate interoperability of metadata formats currently in use to enable linking of various types of agricultural information, therefore allowing users to perform cross-searches and other value added services. This approach would also facilitate the harvesting of data from participating countries; with the application of the AGRIS AP model, this harvesting process could be automated.

The expected benefits of AGRIS AP are:

1.2 Methodology

The strategy and methodology adopted to formulate the AGRIS AP involved the following:

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