Australian Governments' Interactive Functions Thesaurus (AGIFT)

A standard framework for describing the functions of government (AGIFT)

The Australian Governments’ Interactive Functions Thesaurus (AGIFT) is a three-level hierarchical thesaurus that describes the business functions carried out across Commonwealth, state and local governments in Australia.

An interactive version of AGIFT is available online for use.

Purpose of AGIFT

AGIFT contributes to the discovery of government information and services online by:

  • providing standard terms for government agencies to use in the 'Function' element of the AGLS metadata element set
  • helping users to search government entry points when they are not sure which terms to use or which level of government has responsibility for the information or service they require
  • providing a framework for government agencies to develop a more detailed agency-based functional thesaurus for their own classification needs.

It contains 26 high-level functions, each with second and third level terms, as well as non-preferred terms and related terms. Terms can be searched by function, alphabetically and via full-text searching.

Structure of AGIFT

In the thesaurus you will find:

  • Function – the broadest unit of business performed by government agencies
  • Level 2 – major tasks or areas of service undertaken within each function
  • Level 3 – topics being addressed within function/activities

For each term, the thesaurus shows:

  • Scope Notes – notes that provide guidance on the use of a term
  • Broader Terms – terms at a higher level
  • Narrower Terms – terms at a lower level
  • Related Terms – terms at the same level
  • Use – approved terms used to identify and save documents
  • Non-preferred Term – other terms, not to be used to identify and save documents


This is the 3rd edition of the Australian Governments’ Interactive Functions Thesaurus (AGIFT). Changes from the second edition are outlined below.

Changes in the third edition of AGIFT

AGIFT 3rd edition includes:

Terms and relationships in AGIFT

AGIFT uses the following standards to establish terms and relationships:

  • ISO 25964-1:2011: Information and documentation -- Thesauri and interoperability with other vocabularies -- Part 1: Thesauri for information retrieval
  • ANSI/NISO Z39-2005: Guidelines for the Construction, Format, and Management of Monolingual Thesauri.

Copyright and acknowledgement

© Commonwealth of Australia

The Commonwealth, as represented by the National Archives of Australia owns all intellectual property rights in AGIFT. 

With the exception of the Commonwealth Coat of Arms, the National Archives of Australia logo and any material protected by a trade mark, AGIFT is provided free of charge under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 CC BY-NC-ND International Licence .

(IMG) Creative Commons logoAttribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs  CC BY-NC-ND

If you share AGIFT then you must attribute it to the 'National Archives of Australia' and refer to it as 'Australian Governments' Interactive Functions Thesaurus, 3rd edition, June 2015' link it to this website and share it on the same terms as this licence.

For inquiries relating to the use or attribution of AGIFT please contact

Zipped version of AGIFT 3rd edition

The zipped version of AGIFT contains the html and .csv files that comprise the fully functional interactive online version of the thesaurus.


Conditions of use for the zipped version

When downloading and using an electronic copy of AGIFT users agree to comply with the following conditions.

Recognition of master control

The User recognises that the National Archives of Australia (Archives) maintains the master version of AGIFT.

The User accepts that the electronic copy of AGIFT it downloads may be superceded by a later edition. 

It is the responsibility of the User to maintain the thesaurus within the User's systems, and to make any revisions, deletions or additions to terms and definitions that are incorporated in subsequent editions of the thesaurus published by the Archives. 

It is the responsibility of the User to monitor the Archives' website for new editions.

Liability and indemnity

The Archives accepts no loss or liability whatsoever, arising from or connected with using or downloading AGIFT, regardless of how that loss, damage, expense, injury or liability arises. This includes but is not limited to any damage resulting from a virus, defect or error. 

These terms and conditions of use are governed by the laws in force in the Australian Capital Territory, Australia and by downloading AGIFT you are accepting these conditions and you are agreeing to submit to the jurisdiction of the courts of the Australian Capital Territory.


'User' means the organisation or individual downloading and using AGIFT.

Copyright National Archives of Australia 2016