Searching for meaning: co-constructing ontologies with stakeholders for smarter search engines in agriculture

Ingram, Julie ORCID: 0000-0003-0712-4789 and Gaskell, Peter ORCID: 0000-0001-8830-5252 (2019) Searching for meaning: co-constructing ontologies with stakeholders for smarter search engines in agriculture. NJAS - Wageningen Journal of Life Sciences. ISSN 1573-5214 (In Press)

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Abstract

A key challenge in agriculture, as in other disciplines, is taking a large body of research-based knowledge and making it meaningful to the user-audience. Computer aided search engines potentially can offer widespread access to large repositories with relevant reports and publications, however the usefulness of such systems for the practitioners who are dealing with multi-faceted and context-related issues is often limited. Building search engines with user-centered ontologies offer a means of resolving this as it provides a vocabulary common to different stakeholders and can optimise the interaction between practitioner users and the expert system. The paper critically reflects on the methodology used to construct a user-centered ontology in the development of a search engine designed to help agricultural practitioners (farmers and advisers) find useful research outputs. This involved the iterative participation of domain experts, adviser practitioners and stakeholder communities in ten diverse case studies across Europe. Specifically it analyses the design, validation and evaluation phases of the ontology development drawing on qualitative data (reports, observations, interviews) from four case studies and asks: How effective is the process of co-constructing an ontology with experts, practitioners and other stakeholders in enabling the search for useful and meaningful knowledge? In doing this, it contributes to a deeper theoretical understanding of shared concepts and meanings in the context of digital communications in the agricultural arena by adapting Carlile’s (2004) framework of syntactic, semantic and pragmatic capacities.

Item Type: Article
Article Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Ontology; Stakeholder; Knowledge domain; Search engine; Digital tools; Farmers
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
L Education > L Education (General)
L Education > LC Special aspects of education > LC5201 Education extension. Adult education. Continuing education
S Agriculture > S Agriculture (General)
T Technology > T Technology (General)
T Technology > TD Environmental technology. Sanitary engineering
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > Countryside and Community Research Institute
Research Priority Areas: Environmental Dynamics & Governance
Depositing User: Imogen Young
Date Deposited: 03 May 2019 08:43
Last Modified: 10 May 2019 10:45
URI: http://eprints.glos.ac.uk/id/eprint/6774

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