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What is LandVoc?

LandVoc is a Thesaurus covering concepts related to land governance. It is the result of an ongoing process in which the land terms in FAO's agriculture vocabulary, AGROVOC, have been enriched (using standards such as LADM or the Multilingual Land Tenure Thesaurus, but also local partner inputs and translations). LandVoc currently consists of 310 concepts and is full available 4 languages (English, French, Spanish and Portuguese) and is continuously translated into more languages (like Khmer, Vietnamese, Burmese, Thai, Swahili, Arabic).

Why do we need a thesaurus?

A lot of data, information and knowledge is lost in translation. Land is a topic that is debated in many languages, disciplines and in different parts of the world. When we index our information, we all use different terminologies to describe what it is about. This way, a lot of valuable perspectives gets lost and our information-sharing practices are much more inefficient than they could be. If we used a common set of concepts, we can increase the discoverability of perspectives across the world considerably.

How can LandVoc capture the nuance in sectoral/regional preferences of terminologies?

A controlled vocabulary captures the richness of a great variety of terms, because it includes translations and synonyms of a concept. This information is consolidated in a unique ID (URI) for each concept. This is extremely beneficial to index information and retrieve content through browsing and searching. LandVoc bridges language and culture barriers and thus allows people to use their own language and be heard across the world.

How will LandVoc be used?

We do not imagine all information providers in the land sector to switch to a different "tagging" or classification system. What we envision for LandVoc is for it to be a linking tool between the existing classifications, vocabularies and keywords information providers already use. It will exist "behind the scenes", helping computers understand that a resource tagged with favela in a Brazilian database is the same as an indicator indexed as related to สลม in a Thai repository or a news article tagged with township in South Africa. Without getting into too much technical detail - this will help exchange and flow of information between web platforms enormously. These mappings and services are free for anyone to use and re-use.

What feedback am I expected to give?

This set of concepts from AGROVOC and the draft hierarchy displayed in SKOSMOS was facilitated by the Land Portal with help of its partners. To implement it, we need your input whether we have covered the essential land concepts and whether the hierarchy is appropriate. You can email us at to provide your comments. We will also be happy to discuss this in a conversation through Skype.

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