Fourth Annual AGROVOC Editorial Community Meeting

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The Fourth AGROVOC Editorial Community Meeting was held online on 29 June 2021. More than 50 participants representing 30 institutions from 29 countries took part in the event. The event aimed to update the AGROVOC editorial community on the achievements of the first months of 2021 and discuss the new updated version of the editorial guidelines.

This meeting follows a previous AGROVOC meeting held in January 2021 which highlighted achievements and agreed on new developments and activities for the months to come: The AGROVOC Editorial Guidelines 2020 review, technical e-infrastructure, new Vocbench developments and SPARQL, and outreach activities. The update of the AGROVOC brochure in 26 languages and of the AGROVOC Editorial Guidelines will be published in revised forms in late 2021. To close the event, the AGROVOC editorial guidelines taskforce presented recommendations on definitions, alignments, scientific names, and the ongoing Agrontology revision.

The main outputs from the AGROVOC Editorial Community Meeting

Impressive growth. AGROVOC now includes over 39 100 concepts and 826 000 terms in up to 40 languages and it is still growing. In the first five months of 2021 there were almost 30 million accesses to single resources with a monthly average of six million. With regard to multiple resources, AGROVOC received up to 0.5 million access with a monthly average of 90 500. FAO has consolidated the AGROVOC multilingual agricultural thesaurus services with the addition of a new domain for its technical infrastructure at With this technical improvement, FAO is strengthening the access to the AGROVOC services. FAO is also now using the CKAN data management system to share releases of AGROVOC.

AGROVOC outreach. Outreach has been key in the first six months of 2021, with several activities ongoing. The AGROVOC Concept of the month launched this year, as have the new AGROVOC editorial partners pages and AGROVOC newsletter issues. Social media presence has increased through @FAOAIMS

New CGIAR taskforce in AGROVOC established. FAO has started a cooperation with IITA, Bioversity-CIAT, ILRI, IFPRI including ICARDA to join forces to increase interoperability between food and agricultural information systems. A new CGIAR taskforce in AGROVOC has been established. This collaboration will bring mutual benefits and strengthen the awareness of AGROVOC within CGIAR, while FAO will benefit from the in-depth field experts contributing to current research terminology in subjects related to the FAO’s work.

Editorial Guidelines.  The AGROVOC editorial guidelines taskforce presented the revision status of the AGROVOC editorial guidelines published in 2020. These will be published in revised form in late 2021, reflecting input from editors. The AGROVOC editorial community taskforce presented recommendations on definitions, alignments, the ongoing Agrontology revision, and on scientific names 2021. Several webinars have been delivered on various topics: the editorial guidelines, definitions and alignments.

Panel Session. After discussing the new priorities for the AGROVOC Editorial Guidelines 2021, a panel session explored various methodologies to develop and assess content development of thesauri and ontologies/KOS, during which participants agreed on the importance of quantitative and qualitative usage analysis to define content development strategies. 

AGROVOC Use Cases. Guest speakers from the Indonesian Institute of Sciences and the  Programme for Capacity Development in Africa (P4CDA) in Kenya presented their use cases on how AGROVOC is being used in digital information systems and as a terminology to be applied to farming practices such as goat milk production. Both cases took part in the AGROVOC call for use cases organized in the framework of the #AGROVOC40 campaign.

40 years of AGROVOC 1981-2021. After forty years, AGROVOC has evolved considerably, both in scope, languages, community involvement and technology. This has also been promoted with a social media campaign #AGROVOC40. A call for use cases in June 2021 has provided some interesting examples of how AGROVOC is used in different contexts. Organizations using the thesaurus were invited to share how the world's largest controlled set of concepts about agriculture has made a difference in their work. Understanding more about how our users interact with the thesaurus will help us to keep improving  AGROVOC in the years to come. 

Side event: the LandVoc Workshop. As a side event to the annual meeting, a LandVoc Workshop was held on 28 June 2021 about Exploring the Development, Promotion and Impact of AGROVOC Sub-schemes  Over the past years, a number of projects, similar to LandVoc, have explored ways to provide and promote structured vocabularies for use by particular thematic communities while also contributing to and working in partnership with the AGROVOC thesaurus coordinated by FAO. This interesting workshop explored consultation and engagement in vocabulary development; communication strategies to improve awareness of vocabularies and their use; supporting vocabulary use, and measuring use and impact. 

Since 2018, the FAO AGROVOC agricultural thesaurus has been expanding its coverage thanks to the collaboration with communities of experts and now includes specialized domains that benefit the AGROVOC infrastructure. Up to 25 national and international organizations are part of the AGROVOC editorial community. These organizations volunteer to contribute to different language versions and subject domains as part of this community and meet once a year to discuss new technical improvements and priorities for further development. 

FAO AGROVOC is always interested in expanding the coverage of the thesaurus and adding or revising translations and definitions of concepts. If your institution is interested in contributing to AGROVOC on a regular basis and becoming part of our community of editors, please contact us at [email protected]

Virtual meeting
Virtual meeting








The institutions that participated at the AGROVOC Editorial Community Meeting: 

  1. Agricultural Research Service, US Department of Agriculture, United States of America
  2. Agroinstitut Nitra, Slovakia
  3. Alliance of Bioversity and CIAT
  4. Association for Technology and Structures in Agriculture (KTBL), Germany
  5. Azov-Black Sea Branch of the Russian Federal Research Institute of Fisheries and Oceanography - VNIRO, Russian Federation
  6. Belarus Agricultural Library, National Academy of Sciences, Belarus
  7. Central Scientific Agricultural Library (CSAL), Russian Federation
  8. Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS), China
  9. Empresa Brasileira de Pesquisa Agropecuária (Embrapa), Brazil
  10. Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO)
  11. French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development (CIRAD), France
  12. Indonesian Institute of Sciences, Indonesia
  13. International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA)
  14. International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) 
  15. Institute of Agricultural Economics and Information, Czech Republic
  16. Institute of Agrifood Research and Technology (IRTA), Spain
  17. Instituto Nacional de Investigación y Desarrollo Pesquero (INIDEP), Argentina
  18. Iranian Fisheries Science Research Institute, Iran
  19. Kent University, United States of America
  20. Land Portal Foundation
  21. Makerere University, Uganda
  22. Matica Srpska Library, Serbia
  23. Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, Department of Training and Publications, Turkey
  24. Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU), Norway
  25. Programme for Capacity Development in Africa (P4CDA), Kenya
  26. Publications Office of the European Union, Luxembourg
  27. TECHINFORMI, Georgia
  28. Thai National AGRIS Center, Thailand
  29. The Republican Scientific Agricultural Library State Agrarian University, Republic of Moldova
  30. United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
  31. Universidad Nacional Agraria, Nicaragua