What topics does AGROVOC cover? AGROVOC covers all areas of interest to FAO, such as food, nutrition, agriculture, forestry, fisheries, names of animals and plants, environment, biological notions, techniques of plant cultivation, etc. The thesaurus is hierarchically organized under 25 top concepts. 

Does AGROVOC include scientific taxonomies and names of plants and animals? Yes, some 75% of AGROVOC concepts are about animals and plants. They can be found under the top concept "Organisms".

Does AGROVOC include geographical entities? Yes, AGROVOC includes geographical entities, such as countries and continents, under top concept "entities". It also includes geographical entities such as lakes and mountains, which can be found under "features". The fact that a given lake passes through a given country, is expressed by means of the concept to concept relation “Spatially includes”. Concepts referring to geographical entities are grouped together in “subvocabularies of concepts”. Currently AGROVOC distinguishes the following ones:

  1. Geographical entities country level
  2. Geographical entities above country level
  3. Geographical entities below country level

What type of information is attached to AGROVOC concepts? For each concept in AGROVOC we can distinguish the following types of information:

  • Terminological information: All the terms/labels in all languages that represent the concept.
  • Structural information: Relations between concepts and between terms.
  • Semantic information: Definitions of the concept.
  • Editorial information: Editorial notes and scope notes.

I think I noticed an error, how can I communicate this to AGROVOC? Write to us at [email protected]

My language is not covered by AGROVOC. Can it be added? Yes, with your help :) For the maintenance of each language version we collaborate with different domain experts (or information managers with domain knowledge). If you are interested in translating (a part of) AGROVOC into your language, please let us know by writing to [email protected] and we will provide you with the needed support.

How is the quality of AGROVOC content ensured? All AGROVOC editors are recognized experts in the field, working in centers of recognized value in the area of agriculture. Moreover, our workflow distinguishes two editorial roles: “validator” and “editor”. Beyond being very knowledgeable in their specific area of expertise, validators are also well acquainted with the AGROVOC structure and editorial issues. Validators are entitled to accept or reject contributions made by editors. Editorial guidelines for editors (English content) and validators are available. 

Why do URIs use numbers and not terms? A typical URI (or URL) for an AGROVOC concept has this shape:

The English label for this concept is "maize", and people often ask: why don't you use

 instead, just like Wikipedia does?


Well, the point is that AGROVOC has terms in many languages. How to choose only one among them? Also, what if no term in that language was available for some concepts? That is why we chose numeric URIs.

AGROVOC is a KOS. What does this mean? KOS stands for Knowledge Organization System. Thesauri, authority lists, controlled vocabularies and classification systems are examples of KOS. In particular, AGROVOC is a KOS because its terms and concepts are normally used as values of certain metadata properties. For example a concept from AGROVOC may be used as the value of dct:subject, the Dublin Core property used to indicate the topic of a resource.