Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Thesaurus Maintenance, Alignment and Publication as Linked Data

The AGROVOC multilingual thesaurus maintained by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) is now published as linked data. In order to reach this goal AGROVOC was expressed in Simple Knowledge Organization System (SKOS), and its concepts provided with dereferenceable URIs. AGROVOC is now aligned with ten other multilingual knowledge organization systems related to agriculture, using the SKOS properties exact match and close match. Alignments were automatically produced in Eclipse using a custom-designed tool and then validated by a domain expert. The resulting data is publicly available to both humans and machines using a SPARQL endpoint together with a modified version of Pubby, a lightweight front-end tool for publishing linked data.
This paper describes the process that led to the current linked data AGROVOC and discusses current and future applications and directions.

Contributed by Caterina Caracciolo, Ahsan Morshed, Armando Stellato, Gudrun Johannsen, Yves Jaques and Johannes Keizer.

View/download submitted paper from HERE.
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Sunday, October 9, 2011

Subject Classification with DITA Markup for Agricultural Learning Resources. A Case Example in Agroforestry

Technical documentation and training materials are important elements in helping to accelerate the use and impact of agricultural research for development. The creation and delivery of these resources can be enhanced through content enrichment and the production and reuse of modular components. This process can be further improved by integrating rich semantic descriptions with resource metadata and domain-specific markup combined with the consistent use of controlled vocabulary. The Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA) supports both the integration of metadata as well as markup for technical as well as learning and training content. DITA also includes mechanisms for adding the semantics of taxonomy and ontology definitions for classifying content.

This paper explores the potential use of enriching agroforestry learning resources with DITA markup through descriptive metadata and subject classification.

Contributed by Thomas Zschocke.

View/download submitted paper from HERE.
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Friday, September 23, 2011

A model for skills and competences and its application in the agricultural sector

The evolving needs within the European learning and employment landscape set clear and mature requirements for the combination and integration of European policies and metadata standards towards a European Competence Model that will be able to support technology enhanced learning, training and employment, thus increasing mobility, and employability opportunities for European citizens. Starting with generic domain modelling, the eCOTOOL project provides formal structure for representing skills and competences distinguishing between and responding to the needs of two important user groups: those whose work relates to vocational education and training (VET) or employment; and those who build the tools.

This paper presents and explains the "high-level competence model” that works on paper for general professionals, the "technical" competence model that provides the ontological foundation for effective interoperable tool-building, together with the methodology and rationale followed. In addition, it discusses the model’s exploitation and usage in instruments like the Europass Certificate Supplement (ECS), a European paper format for presenting the skills and competences acquired through VET, providing concrete examples for the field of agriculture.

Contributed by Simon Grant, Cleo Sgouropoulou & Charalampos Thanopoulos.

View/download submitted paper from HERE.
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Developing a Metadata Application Profile for Sharing Agricultural Scientific and Scholarly Research Resources

This article describes the development of the VOA3R Metadata Application Profile to facilitate the description, dissemination and reuse of research results in the fields of Agriculture and Aquaculture within a federation of open access repositories. VOA3R is a research project aspiring to deploy an advanced, community-focused integrated platform for the retrieval of relevant open content and data that supports explicit models of the scholarly lifecycle and the practical tasks targeted by applied research. The article details the phased implementation of the core VOA3R application profile relating to the description of scholarly resources. The development process has been based upon the methodology and components of the Singapore Framework for Dublin Core Application Profiles: functional requirements, domain model, description set profile, usage guidelines and data format. Maximum interoperability, reuse of existing mature metadata standards, long-term quality control and extensibility for addressing further community needs, constitute the main benefits of this approach.

Contributed by Nikos Diamantopoulos, Cleo Sgouropoulou, Kostas Kastrantas & Nikos Manouselis.

View/download submitted paper from HERE.
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Publishing and Linking Semantically Annotated Agro-Environmental resources to LOD with AGROPub

Publishing agro-environmental resources to a linked open data (LOD) cloud requires publishers to adopt a set of universally recognized linked data principles. These principles, along with semantic annotations based on shared domain ontologies can ensure the semantic integration of agro-environmental resources. In this paper we present a resource-publishing system, called AGROPub, that we developed to aid agro-environmental resource providers to annotate, publish and integrate their resources to LOD. The system comprises services and tools that enable resource providers to annotate their resources by relevant concepts from selected agro-environmental domain ontologies, to generate and publish RDF descriptions of the resources to LOD and to link the published resources to related resources from LOD. In addition to the services and tools dedicated to resource providers, AGROPub provides services and tools that enable consumers of the agro-environmental resources to search and annotate published resources by adding their own annotations as well as to evaluate them based on given criteria.

Contributed by Sasa Nesic, Andrea Emilio Rizzoli & Ioannis N. Athanasiadis.

View/download submitted paper from HERE.
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Intellectual Property Rights in Environmental & Natural History Collections: A preliminary discussion

In an era where digitization and networking technologies offer a new way for environmental and natural history institutions, like natural history museums and science centers, to promote their services to the general public, new challenges rise on the field on intellectual property rights. Natural Europe project aim is to make natural history knowledge accessible on an open access basis to a wide spectrum of end-users, through Europeana portal. The value the project delivers is not merely in making works available online, but in the open access terms under which the works are available. Therefore understanding Intellectual Property considerations is fundamental in achieving this goal. 
The aim of this paper is to enable a further discussion on issues concerning the intellectual property rights for environmental and natural history collections.

Contributed by Effie Tsiflidou, Alexios Dimitropoulos, Zoi A. Makrodimitri & Nikos Palavitsinis.

View/download submitted paper from HERE.
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Thursday, September 22, 2011

Agriculture-Related Concepts in Non-agricultural and General Thesauri

We identified general indexing concepts, based on descriptors (preferred-terms) which contain terms 'agriculture' and 'agricultural', in several non-agricultural and general information systems/databases, and respective thesauri (controlled vocabularies), covering fields of civil, mechanical, chemical engineering, physics, psychology, medicine, biomedicine, education, business, economics, finance, library science, sociology, social and political sciences and related disciplines (for example, CSA-Illumina ERIC (Education Resources Information Center), LISA (Library and Information Science Abstracts), Sociological Abstracts (Sociological Indexing Terms), Ebsco Academic Search Complete (Subject Terms), Medline (MeSH), Political Science Complete, Ei Engineering Village Compendex and Inspec, PsycINFO (Thesaurus of Psychological Index Terms), ABI/Inform Global (ProQuest Thesaurus).
We compared characteristics, strengths and limitations of thesauri in each respective system with regard to searching (word-, phrase-indexing, truncation (wildcard), stemming, autostemming, hierarchical structure (tree-structures) and relations among preferred-, non-preferred terms, Narrower, Broader and Related Terms. We assessed database coverage of general agriculture-related topics based on retrieval with these terms.

Contributed by Tomaz Bartol.

View/download submitted paper from HERE.
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POWDER as enabling technology for the semantic interoperability of agricultural repositories

Current approaches to the interoperability of heterogeneous resources typically maintain coordinated clones over which querying infrastructure operates. In the case of large-scale repositories, and especially when no single schema is clearly established so that the problem can be reduced to transforming legacy data, a more dynamic approach would be a benefit. In many real-world situation, how- ever, useful queries need to combine information from different sources that are actively maintained in incompatible schemata and are too large to systematically clone. Examples include the various agricultural resource repositories and databases such as meteorological archives and GIS.

In this position paper we explore the applicability of the W3C Protocol for Web Description Resources (POWDER) as infrastructure for the efficient and distributed retrieval of the meta-information needed to dynamically re-write queries in one schema to the (set of) semantically equivalent queries that need to be executed over the various heterogeneous schemata. This enables information providers to publish information in any schema as long as POWDER is used to annotate their repository with the coordination-related meta-information. Querying engines can then exploit existing and established resource discovery mechanisms implemented over the POWDER protocol to retrieve the meta-information pertinent to any single triple pattern in a query and use that to dynamically perform query rewriting.

Contributed by Pythagoras Karampiperis, Stasinos Konstantopoulos and Vangelis Karkaletsis.

View/download submitted paper from HERE.
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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Introducing a content integration process for a federation of agricultural institutional repositories

Aggregating metadata from various sources often raises practical issues, such as incompatibility between the different metadata application profiles (AP) used as well as quality aspects of the metadata used. In the case of repositories hosting agricultural-related content, the existence of various metadata AP with significant differences between them makes the effort of interconnecting these repositories a difficult task. 

This paper proposes a process for integrating different agricultural scientific content repositories and a workflow that should be followed in the context of populating the repository. Although the proposed solution refers to repositories with agricultural content, the same process can be followed in the case of repositories with different content. This process was proposed under the VOA3R project which is funded by the European Commission’s ICT PSP Programme.

Contributed by Vassilios Protonotarios, Laura Gavrilut, Ioannis N. Athanasiadis, Ilias 
Hatzakis and Miguel-Angel Sicilia.

View/download submitted paper from HERE.
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