The VocBench is a web-based, multilingual collaborative editing and workflow tool that manages thesauri, authority lists and glossaries using the SKOS model. In agINFRA, an instance of the VocBench was deployed to manage the Knowledge Organization Systems (KOSs) created in the project.
Usage and deployment (if publicly accessible)
agINFRA VocBench: http://184.108.40.206:55481/aginfra/
Example Usage Scenario
Vasilia is an agronomist doing research with organic methods. He works for a research laboratory at the University. Along with his colleagues, they share a big collection of resources, including text-based documents and images. They have been managing this collection with a proprietary set of tools but this has become cumbersome and inefficient as the number of the resources is growing. Moreover, it is now important to expose some part of their collection and share them with other colleagues and interested people.
Mark is Vasilia's colleague at the research laboratory, who has also been the main responsible for the setup and support of the tools for the management of the collection.
Normal deployment of the VocBench tool
Mark has been asked by a colleague if they can use the VocBench tool and the AGROVOC thesaurus to annotate their resources. In fact they have already been experimenting with the online services of the VocBench tool, provided by FAO# in order to link AGROVOC to their annotation tool. This has worked efficiently for the team, but it cannot fulfill the need to extend the existing thesaurus with new concepts, specific to the work of their laboratory. Mark decides to download the freely available VocBench tool, in order to install it and allow his colleagues to work manage locally their extension of AGROVOC, as well as support them in the creation, management and evolution of other relevant vocabularies. However, this is a cumbersome task.
He needs to meet specific requirements and follow a number of steps, including:
- Select an appropriate server machine with adequate hardware resources and a fresh Linux installation (for example Debian).
- Download the latest version of the VocBench software, from the Source Forge repository, being a zip bundle of approximately 77 MB file size.
- Download the relevant “VocBench Installation Notes” file Acquire shell access to the server and install required software components, including Apache Tomcat web server (version 6.0 or higher) and MySQL database server (version 5.0 or higher). So, at Debian he would need to use the shell and issue commands like:
- > apt-get update; apt-get install sun-java6-jdk apache2 tomcat6 libmysql-java
- > apt-get install mysql-server
- Configure apache2, tomcat and the mysql server
- Install the VocBench war applications: vocbench.war and ACSWWebservice.war
- Setup the related databases: agrovoc_wb_20110223.sql and administrator_version13.sql
- Add ontology Protégé model to VocBench by inserting new entries to administrator db’s ontology_info table using specific instructions and mysql commands. like:
INSERT INTO ontology_info (ontology_name, ontology_description, db_url, db_driver, db_name, db_username, db_password, ontology_show, version) values ("AGROVOC", "AGROVOC Multilingual Thesaurus", "jdbc:mysql://localhost:3306/agrovoc_wb_20110223_products?requireSSL=false&useU nicode=true&characterEncoding=UTF-8", "com.mysql.jdbc.Driver", "agrovoc_wb_20110223_products", "USER", "XXXX", "1","1.3i");
- Edit the “config.properties” file, to configure specific parameters for the new installation, including version, connection URL and credentials for the mysql database, e-mail parameters, etc.
- Launch his browser at http://localhost:8080/vocbench-deployment-name and start using the tool!
The big list of requirements and required actions looks intimidating for Mark, who postpones installation of the tool and suggests to his colleagues to carry on using the FAO-provided online service. He also realises that a local installation of the VocBench tool, especially a successful one would put quite some strain on his already loaded schedule. He would have to take care of the server’s operation, plan for regular backup of data, configure the laboratory’s firewall to allow access to the web services for external colleagues, etc.
agINFRA powered version
Mark becomes aware of the agINFRA scientific gateway and the VocBench tool. He has long known about VocBench, a tool provided by FAO for managing agricultural-related vocabularies, but hasn't been able to test it for their lab's work. The main barriers have been the lack of time and support, along with the need for specialised server software components and hardware, resulting to reluctance to engage in the installation of the publicly available tool from FAO. However, having been informed about the agINFRA support for VocBench, he now decides to give it a go.
He visits the homepage of the agINFRA scientific gateway, where he quickly finds his way through the available information. He is presented with a simple form where he can select that he wishes to setup a new virtual machine, operating on Cloud resources, which will host the dedicated installation of the VocBench tool for Mark's laboratory. He provides some options, including the approximate size of the repository and number of users, a short name and basic personal details and he presses the “Install” button. After a very short time he is informed that the new virtual machine is ready and is provided with a link to access it.
Mark presses on the link and his browser presents the front-page of the newly installed VocBench tool, with some basic instructions for logging in as administrator in order to carry on with configuration and usage of the tool. Mark is impressed: the tool is operating flawlessly; he can customise its look to match their lab's preferable colors and logo. What's best is that the tool comes with a number of vocabularies pre-loaded including AGROVOC, which can be adapted and extended through the easy to use browser-based interface. What's best for Mark, is that minimum support is required: he has already setup the tool, which was something that always seemed difficult and time-consuming, the tool is operating on the Cloud without need for attending another server component at his lab and he can feel confident for the reliability of the infrastructure, as well as the ability to expand the resources of the underlying virtual machine (memory, size of hard disk) while the usage of the tool and the size of their collection grows.
Development of a customised thesaurus for annotating resources
Mark introduces the VocBench tool to Vasilia, who has already been aware of it. She has always been interested in using the AGROVOC thesaurus for annotating their collection's resources, but also needed to make some modifications and additions which she couldn't find out any efficient way to accomplish. Now, with her account of the newly installed VocBench tool, she moves around the browser-based interface and realises that she can easily accomplish her task. She quickly creates a derivative of the AGROVOC thesaurus and sends out an e-mail to her colleagues with the links of the web services that expose the concepts and structure of the thesaurus. It is exciting how easily the can now have a linked-data approach to the annotation and management of their repository Her team can now start annotating their resources against the newly created thesaurus. She's very happy and confident that they are now able to provide added-value information to their collection and make it much more interesting, re-usable and effective for their work.
Moreover, the VocBench tool operating on the Cloud and being accessible online, she can share the lab's vocabularies with some external colleagues who can start using it for annotating their resources. The lab's repository starts growing in size very quickly, but all colleagues can now locate and discover relevant resources much easier. Last, but not least, all colleagues, both internal and external can collaborate using the agINFRApowered VocBench installation to take on management and evolution of their thesaurus. Vasilia can even invite colleagues from other countries to help with the translation of the thesaurus, again with the use of the VocBench tool.