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. It contains 25 high-level functions, each with second and third level terms, as well as non-preferred terms and related terms. A scope note describes the range of activities covered by a preferred term and provides cross-references.

It can be accessed as an online interactive version, or it can be downloaded as a zip file for local 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.

Terms and relationships in AGIFT

AGIFT uses the following standards to establish terms and relationships:

  • ISO 2788 – 1986 Documentation – Guidelines for the Establishment and Development of Monolingual Thesauri
  • ANSI Z39.19 – 1980 Guidelines for Thesaurus Structure, Construction and Use

Changes to the second edition of AGIFT

AGIFT 2nd edition includes:

  • an additional top-level function – Indigenous Affairs – drawing together terms relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples;
  • additional scope notes for Level 2 and Level 3 terms to provide guidance on coverage;
  • extensive use of cross-referencing to guide users to related terms;
  • changes to relationships between some terms to better reflect the functions of government; and
  • additional non-preferred terms to provide more natural searching for government information or services.

A zipped version of the interactive HTML thesaurus is available to Australian government agencies and other users who wish to incorporate it into their business systems, such as content management systems and search and retrieval tools, or include it on their intranet site for reference purposes.

This is available by contacting the National Archives.

Zipped version of AGIFT 2nd edition

Conditions of use for the zipped version

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


‘User’ means the organisation or individual downloading and using AGIFT.

Recognition of master control

The User recognises that the National Archives of Australia 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 National Archives of Australia.

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

Liability and indemnity

The User agrees that the National Archives of Australia accepts no responsibility for problems that may occur during installation of AGIFT, or its subsequent use within the User’s systems.

Copyright and acknowledgement

The Commonwealth of Australia is the copyright owner of AGIFT.

AGIFT may be adapted or reproduced for personal, in-house or non-commercial use without formal permission subject to appropriate citation.

The publication should be cited as: National Archives of Australia, Australian Governments’ Interactive Functions Thesaurus, 2nd edition, September 2005, published at http://www.naa.gov.au/.

The work may not be used for other purposes – apart from any use as permitted under the Copyright Act 1968 – without prior written permission from the National Archives of Australia. Requests and inquiries concerning reproduction and rights should be sent to the Agency Service Centre or the Publications Manager, National Archives of Australia, PO Box 7425, Canberra Business Centre ACT 2610, Australia.

Users that wish to use AGIFT terms as a seed thesaurus to demonstrate thesaurus functionality, as a reference tool on an intranet site, or for other purposes, must acknowledge the source of the thesaurus.

On-sell issues

AGIFT is available to Users free of charge. Users must not charge third parties when providing access to, or other use of, the thesaurus.

Download the zipped version of AGIFT

Follow the instructions below to download the zipped version of AGIFT. These instructions assume you already have a zip utility such as Winzip installed on your computer.

  1. Right-click on the link to the zipped version of AGIFT and select ‘Save Link As’.
  2. Choose a location to put the file ‘naa-agift.zip’ and ‘Save’.
  3. Using the file manager, navigate to where you downloaded ‘naa-agift.zip’ and double-click on it. This will open the zip application.
  4. Select all files in the zip application window. In WinZip the command to ‘Select All’ is in the ‘Actions menu. In most zip applications it will work to use the keyboard shortcut ‘Ctrl A’ (press the Ctrl and A keys at the same time). Every file will then be highlighted.
  5. Press the ‘Extract’ button on the tool bar.
  6. Navigate to where you want to extract the files. You may want to create a new folder to house them.
  7. You should see the progress of the file extraction process (eg in WinZip a red light is displayed until all files are extracted, then it changes to green).
  8. Exit the zip application, and open a web browser.
  9. In the browser ‘File’ menu, select ‘Open’ and navigate to where you extracted the files. Open the folder named ‘akaHTML’.
  10. Open ‘AGIFT_conditions_of_use.pdf’ to view the Conditions of Use for electronic copies of AGIFT.
  11. Open ‘index.htm’, and you will have access to the entire thesaurus, with the same full-text search functionality as the online version. (If you open any of the other files, you can then use the link back to ‘Home’.)
Copyright National Archives of Australia 2016