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Metadata enrichment and implementation of standard vocabulary (LandVoc)


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Speed read: GLTN publications will from now on be more easily accessible on the internet thanks to an innovation successfully championed by the Land Portal Foundation. Implementation of the “Partnership for Land Tool Research and Learning” initiative that ran over a couple of months in 2015 saw the development of a launching point within the Land Portal’s Land Library that was then populated with GLTN-related content. Using a sophisticated tagging system buoyed by a well-researched land use and governance thesaurus, the GLTN publications have now become more discoverable and easier to share among GLTN partners, by land researchers and practitioners as well as by other internet users seeking information and knowledge on land                                                                                                                           

Global Land Tool Network (GLTN) publications were available on the GLTN website in a way that made their exploration limited to using a search engine tool embedded in the site, which restricted the knowledge base only to this website, and the only way for users to find GLTN publications was to visit the GLTN website. In addition, the system for searching publications only searched for the specific word someone was looking for, not synonyms or translations of those terms, which made it difficult to find publications a user may have been looking for; even if a publication existed, the user may not have been able to find it, as the publication was published using different keywords that could not be identified by the search engine.

In response, he Global Land Tool Network (GLTN) engaged the support of the Land Portal to make GLTN publications more discoverable on the internet by adopting Linked Open Data standards and exposing and enriching the metadata of the GLTN publications.

The GLTN Secretariat provided the Land Portal team with a list of 64 publications and their ‘metadata’ – the descriptive information about the document, including resource title, description, authors, themes, etc. The Land Portal Team improved and enhanced this metadata by adding keywords from a standardized vocabulary call LandVOC and included additional standard metadata fields. The metadata is now published on the Land Portal website, where it is uploaded in a Resource Description Framework (RDF) format according to Linked Open Data standards. The link to the resource on the Land Portal page links back to the GLTN website where the original resource is stored. Users can therefore search and filter for GLTN-related publications and resources on the Land Portal and will be redirected to the GLTN website to access the resource or download the complete publication.

What were the results of these efforts?

By enriching and standardizing the metadata records for the GLTN resources, the discoverability of the GLTN resources has increased significantly. Much of the added value from this collaboration comes from the standardized and enriched metadata created for the GLTN publications has meant that standardizing the format of GLTN metadata means that any search engine can recognize the information that is published and re-use it freely and present the results to a user/consumer. Moreover, using the word cadaster as an example, the standardized LandVoc thesaurus enables users to find not only the publications related to this word, but also to find resources labeled with synonyms such as ‘land register’ and translations in 22 languages. This also helps search engines to provide users with relevant results related to similar concepts.

Standardizing vocabulary within the land governance community is of vital importance and will enable people from all over the world to find and use information. The case of the GLTN will provide a model for the rest of the land community, which hopefully will adopt similar practices.

About LandPortal

Logo land portal transparenLANDPORTAL.INFO is a premier online destination for information, resources, innovations and networking on land issues. The Portal allows for the collection, sourcing, and searching of otherwise fragmented and inaccessible data and information on land governance and land use from diverse sources, produced by governments, academia, international organizations, indigenous peoples and NGOs. Besides documenting land rights, the Portal also encourages social information exchange, debate and networking.


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Telephone: +254 207623858
Email: gltn[at]

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