AGROVOC e Conference successfully finished

Dear Participants,

The two months of the E-Conference have come to a fruitful end. This was an extremely valuable opportunity for the whole AGROVOC Team to understand the requirements and needs of the community as evidenced from the extremely useful discussions we have had in each phase of the conference.

During the Phase 1 of the e-conference participants were asked to introduce themselves via a questionnaire. Out of thus far registered 170 participants,
101 sent in their introductions. This was done using a short questionnaire.
A total of 43 countries are represented in the Conference. The following figures show (from the participants who submitted the questionnaire) participant representation by Country. From the list of those who registered, over 55% are from Asia and the Pacific, Africa and Central and South America.
This is an extremely impressive number given that the cost of having all these participants attend a physical workshop would have been enormous!

Phase 2 of the conference was designed to evaluate the current services provided with AGROVOC and to ascertain which additional services and functionalities should be provided in the future. A total of 38 participants replied to the topics of this session. In terms of desired functionalities, we will soon update the current web services and incorporate some of the other requirements such as "auto completion of words" in the AIMS Website.
Since the conference, we have added few new KOS to the KOS registry on the AIMS site [1].

During Phase 3 problems related to AGROVOC content and multilinguality management were discussed by 24 e-conference participants. They sent suggestions for terms in domains that need to be added to AGROVOC as well as feedback regarding the improvement of the workflow for suggesting new terms, and term relationships. Another important issue covered during Phase 3 was the management of language, such as problems in the translation of terms from/into English, synonyms, or culture based relation ships between terms.
Many interesting examples from different languages were received.

Phase 4 focused on the user communities. Based on replies provided to Phase 4 opening questions, we can conclude that reasons for joining AGROVOC community are mainly official work related duties, academic studies, research or project activities. There are regional networks in existence in certain parts of the world where professional groups collaborate in the use and development of the AGROVOC thesaurus (Philippines and CE Europe were named). It would be useful to list similar professional networks and/or organisations which use AGROVOC in some way via the AGROVOC D-Group.

Phase 5 focused on the evolution of AGROVOC to a more concept-based system called the Concept Server and the tool used to maintain it called the Workbench. Thanks to the 30 users who tested the system, we realize that: we have to improve the login mechanism; the system contains all necessary elements required by the experts, but may be improved regarding usability and performance; due to high interest in further testing, we will nominate "AGROVOC managers" for continuing the collaboration on the development of the system up to its final deployment. These "AGROVOC managers", if associated to partner organizations, will become the point of reference for setting up the pool of worldwide AGROVOC content editors (terminologists, ontology editors, validators).

Updated list of participants is available from [2] and final report is available from [3].

Please be reminded that there are several mailing lists that you can join to keep updated with the work being undertaken in the Agricultural Community.
http://www.fao.org/aims/contacts.jsp

We would like to extend our thanks to all the participants who took time out to contribute with their ideas and thoughts. Especially, we would like to thank Blanka Bajankova, Choy-Kim Chuah, Florica Victoria Campeanu, Maziar Amirhosseini and Sugunasri Maddala for contributing to all the different phases with useful comments. We hope that this conference has been as useful to you as it has been to us.

We would also like to extend our thanks to some of the participants who contributed by adding AGROVOC page on the Wikipedia.
* http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/AGROVOC [Spanish] by Franz Martin
* http://hu.wikipedia.org/wiki/AGROVOC [Hungarian] by Laszlo Gabor Paposci
* http://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/AGROVOC [Japanese] by Akane F. Takezaki
* http://zh.wikipedia.org/wiki/AGROVOC [Chinese] by Chang Chun

In the next few days we will send out a questionnaire to gather your thoughts and feedback on how we can further improve communication possibilities and better organize a similar event in the future.

Thank you,

Gudrun Johannsen
Laszlo Gabor Papocsi
Margherita Sini
Gauri Salokhe

[1] KOS Registry: http://www.fao.org/aims/kos_list_type.htm
[2] List of participants who sent in the questionnaire:
http://www.dgroups.org/groups/fao/agrovoc-e-conference/docs/Participant_....
xls
[3] Conference Report:
http://www.dgroups.org/groups/fao/agrovoc-e-conference/docs/Full_report.pdf

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