AGROVOC country report - Georgia

FAO/Vladimir Valishvili

AGROVOC in Georgia

The Georgian language is one of the oldest languages in the world. It is the state language of Georgia and is spoken as a native language only by the Georgian people. Historians and linguists still hold an open debate on when exactly the Georgian alphabet was developed. It is generally believed that the Georgian alphabet and script were created in the fourth century BCE. The Georgian language belongs to the family of Caucasian languages, to the group of Kartvelian (Georgian) languages. Most linguists nowadays consider that Georgian is a unique Caucasian language that is not related to Indo-European or Semantic languages.

During the Soviet era, Russian was used as the second language and sometimes as the primary language in some parts of the country, and this fact has influenced Georgian terminology. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russian was marginalized and during the last century European and Georgian relationships have become closer in many fields, with a great number of international terms having been introduced in Georgian. The new terminology has enriched the language, but also created new challenges when translating literature from other languages.

Since 2016, TECHINFORMI in cooperation with Tbilisi State University’s Arnold Chikobava Institute of Linguistics has played an important role in the normalization of national terminology. The Interactive Terminology for Europe (IATE) database was created by European countries just before the year 2000. It is the EU's terminology database and has been used in EU institutions and agencies since 2004 for the collection, dissemination and management of EU-specific terminology. In 2014, thanks to the initiative of the Institute of Linguistics in association with the National Parliamentary Library of Georgia, the Georgian TermBank was created. 

The Georgian TermBank allows for the searching of terminology, providing a reference list of sources within which keywords appear, such as  glossaries, articles, presentations and even information about a list of terms appended to books. The development of Georgian TermBank is supported by European terminological societies, and it is one of the European terminology banks. Since 2016, TECHINFORMI has been involved in the TermBank as an official member of the Georgian Terminology Association. 

Georgian translations of definitions and concepts in AGROVOC

As mentioned in the first chapter of this report, the FAO AGROVOC multilingual thesaurus is a controlled vocabulary covering all FAO areas of interest. It contributes to developing and advocating visibility, accessibility and usability of agricultural data and science and provides a way to organize knowledge for subsequent data retrieval. It is a structured collection of concepts, terms, definitions and relationships. It is the result of a collaborative effort: national and international institutions volunteer to be responsible for different language versions and subject domains as part of the editorial community. Since 2019, AGROVOC has been expanding its coverage through collaboration with communities of experts to include specialized domains that can benefit from the AGROVOC infrastructure.

AGROVOC is mainly used in library catalogues and information systems in order to standardize the indexing of data and documents. Since 2016, TECHINFORMI has been the official AGROVOC editor for Georgian. At TECHINFORMI, AGROVOC is used for FAO depository library and indexing of AGRIS publications. Additionally, TECHINFORMI closely cooperates with different domain experts in order to select Georgian terminology for AGROVOC.

Outreach activities delivered in 2020

Since 2016, TECHINFORMI has continuously updated AGROVOC with Georgian terms, translating and integrating Georgian agricultural terminology into the global information space. Today, 28 923 preferred terms and 4 149 alternative terms are available in Georgian.

In 2020, with the support of FAO, TECHINFORMI organized various outreach activities in order to enhance and deepen the value of AGROVOC. The activities delivered by TECHNINFORMI improved the performance of the translation of concepts and terms in Georgian in AGROVOC.

  1. TECHINFORMI delivered awareness training sessions to internal and external information management experts, with the aim of enhancing their capabilities and expertise. There were over 50 attendees at these sessions, including researchers, academic staff, journal publishers, librarians (from various academic and specialized libraries) and TECHINFORMI specialists. The discussion covered the essence and importance of AGROVOC, its history and development as well as the concept of the largest Linked Open Data set on agriculture. During the sessions, the importance of involving subject matter experts in order to identify and prove problematic terms was discussed.  After the awareness sessions, a questionnaire was prepared to collect feedback from participants, and potential further development was outlined:
    1. It is important to work in coordination with the State Language Department to establish maximum accuracy and eliminate ambiguities and uncertainties in defining terms. The degree of maturity of the scientific and practical agricultural activity is determined by the state of the conceptual and terminological system, which currently faces important tasks both to improve the terms already created and to introduce new terms and concepts for new branches and disciplines.
    2. Separate awareness sessions and training are needed among the targeted groups (librarians, researchers and decision makers from education) in order to strengthen and better understand the role, value and benefits of AGROVOC. In order to develop and consolidate the skills of using AGROVOC, a remote and accessible learning environment (training, webinar, workshop, etc) is required, as are the related educational materials to facilitate the learning process for users.
  2. The official AGROVOC brochure, AGROVOC - The linked data concept hub for food and agriculture, was translated to Georgian in 2020. It was disseminated and promoted among all the participants of the training sessions and among the TECHINFORMI network. Both versions (Georgian and English) were uploaded and posted on the main page of TECHINFORMI, as well as on the websites of the Georgian Academy of Agricultural Sciences and the Georgian Technical University.
  3.  In 2020, 1 438 new Georgian terms were added to AGROVOC (see Figure 3).

Lessons learned

All achievements delivered in 2020 have an invaluable impact on Georgia's performance in AGROVOC.  

Among  them, it is important to highlight a few things.

  • There was a strong increase of the understanding and awareness about AGROVOC among agriculture specialists, researchers and librarians, thanks to awareness training and workshops organized by TECHINFORMI in 2020. Joint sessions on some problematic terms and definitions with experts and specialists from the Institute of Linguistics are planned in 2021. The request mainly came from librarians, researchers and agriculture specialists. 
  • The benefits of using the FAO thesaurus for information and data sharing increased among Georgia’s agriculture and education sector.  Visibility and access to Georgian scientific research in the field of food and agriculture at the international level increased as well – there was an increase in the number of registered bibliographic records in AGRIS and all publications keywords are in compliance and indexed by the AGROVOC thesaurus.
  • There was an improvement of Georgian terms in AGROVOC (see Figure 3).

Figure 3. Information about AGROVOC, term counts by language, May 2021. Source: FAO, 2021

Priorities for the future

TECHINFORMI plans to reinforce and enlarge its collaboration with local targeted organizations to enhance and enrich the quality of AGROVOC. In order to increase the contribution of Georgian agricultural terminology at the local and global level, the following objectives have been set for 2021: 

  • increase awareness of the benefits of using semantic tools for information and data sharing;
  • enlarge the collection of AGROVOC concepts and definitions in Georgian;
  • enrich the thesaurus with Georgian endemic species (plants and animals), geographical terms, as well as Georgian traditional product names;
  • bring into compliance the AGROVOC and the GEMET terms;
  • conduct capacity development events in order to familiarize specialists with the structure of the thesaurus (concepts, terms, relationships and definitions), ways to navigate and make searches, and the specific search principles regarding the scientific and common names of plants and animals, geographical entities, etc.;
  • enhance the engagements of terminologists and domain specialists to the process of reviewing problematic terms and validating them in order to improve the quality of the Georgian version of AGROVOC content; and
  • summarize the outcomes and feedback, and identify the best strategy to close-out the gaps for the TECHINFORMI team working on the Georgian version of AGROVOC.

Thanks to its participation in international workshops, conferences and training sessions organized by FAO, TECHINFORMI is continuously improving its contributions – developing and advocating for visibility, accessibility and usability of agricultural data and science in Georgia. Through awareness training and its dedicated activities among targeted audiences, TECHINFORMI will receive valuable results in the context of information and data sharing in food and agriculture sciences. 

It will be able to increase the competency and quality of – as well as promote knowledge sharing between – local educational institutions operating in the agricultural sector. The result will be increasing visibility and access to agricultural sciences between targeted institutions in the agriculture field.


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