This case study was originally published on the FAO AGROVOC site. Image: FAO/Luis Tato
1. Land Portal Foundation and LandVoc
LandVoc is a thesaurus covering concepts related to land governance. LandVoc, currently in its second version, now consists of 310 concepts organized hierarchically and is available in a multitude of languages. These languages include English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Khmer, Vietnamese, Burmese, Thai, Swahili and Arabic.
LandVoc is an AGROVOC sub-vocabulary hosted by FAO.
A thesaurus such as LandVoc captures the richness of a great variety of terms and their relationships. Every individual LandVoc concept is unambiguously identified through a Unique Identifier (URI) (like http://aims.fao.org/aos/agrovoc/c_aca7ac6d). A thesaurus captures the richness of a great variety of terms, because it includes translations, synonyms and relationships. The relationships between the concepts allow us to understand which are broader and narrower, or more general and specific, with respect to one another.
The LandVoc thesaurus content is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 IGO (CC BY 3.0 IGO).
LandVoc is far more than a list of concepts. It is extremely beneficial in indexing information, which in turn helps us retrieve content through browsing and searching. This, ultimately, makes even the least visible information more discoverable, and accessible to us all.
For example, a searcher may type in a specific search for the terms “slums”, however a relevant and pertinent piece of content may have been tagged using the word “favela”. LandVoc is able to understand this discrepancy through its set of consolidated synonyms and translations and identify that the user may also be interested in the piece of content tagged “favela”. It is therefore easy to see that LandVoc supports bridging language and cultural gaps that prevent land related information from adequately flowing into the hands of those that need it.
Due to the fact that LandVoc works as a linking tool, LandVoc can be used in a variety of different ways.
Firstly, the hundreds of terms contained within LandVoc can be integrated into libraries, repository systems and websites that publish any kind of information related to land governance. This allows your own information or that of your organization to be classified, indexed and therefore more discoverable.
Secondly, and closely related to this first point, because information is now classified and indexed, those searching for key land governance topics can have access to a wide array of information on their topic matter of their choice, including its related terms and translations.
Finally, LandVoc goes beyond the sphere of land related matters. It works to connect to and exchange information with other databases linked to other vocabularies. Since LandVoc is part of FAO’s AGROVOC, LandVoc concepts are mapped to other vocabularies like EUROVOC, Cadastre and Land Administration Thesaurus (CaLAThe), Chinese Agricultural Thesaurus (CAT), Aquatic Sciences and Fisheries Abstracts (ASFA), Linked Thesaurus fRamework for Environment (LusTRE), National Agricultural Library Thesaurus (NALT), United Nations Bibliographic Information System Thesaurus (UNBIS), General Multilingual Environmental Thesaurus (GEMET), etc. The main takeaway here is that connections are being made between terms with one main goal, making information more discoverable and accessible.