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NAL / Walsh 1

Running Head: NAL / Walsh

The National Agricultural Library
An annotated bibliography
Maura Walsh
Emporia State University

Abstract
Agriculture is a field that is largely taken for granted by the general public, yet it is of vital

importance. The National Agricultural Library is one of only four national libraries in the United

States, thus recognizing its importance. In this bibliography I have tried to gather a good
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representation of publications about it, publications about the kind of documents it houses and its

own publications.

AERO, (2007). 2007 AERO Conference. Retrieved March 31, 2008, from Agricultural

Economics Reference Organization Web site:http://cherokee.agecon.clemson.

edu/uc_davis2007.htm

The Agricultural Economics Reference Organization (AERO) provides it’s members

with the most recent agricultural economic reference news and holds workshops and

conferences. The members currently come from the US and Canada. The membership
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is open to those who work in agricultural libraries and other organizations that are

providers of information whether in government, education and industry. In their

conference there is usually a special report dedicated to the NAL detailing the changes

that are taking place or that may take place including policy, acquisitions, expenditures

and other relevant news. This is an interesting resource for anyone interested in having

an outside source of information on the NAL. They also maintain a webliography

(http://cherokee.agecon.clemson.edu/www_favs.htm) made by the AERO members

ASABE, (2008). American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers. Retrieved February

22, 2008, Web site: http://www.asabe.org/

It is possible to search all the publications of the American Society of Agricultural and

Biological Engineers and thus have access to the latest research published. These may

well be topics not yet covered in other places, including their journals from 1998 and

all technical publications from 2001 up to the current date. Members can search freely,

but non members only have access to abstracts. Documents can be selected from a pull

down menu. There is limited Boolean searching by keyword and title. This seems like

a good supplemental site and one that may provide access to documents not yet in the

NAL system. It would be recommended to graduate level students and professionals in

the field.

Craggin, M. (2004).Foster Mohrhardt: Conecting the traditional world of libraries and the

emerging world of information science. Library Trends. 52, no 4, 833 - 852.

Melissa H. Cragin is a doctoral student in the Graduate School of Library and
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Information Science at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. This article

covers a very important period in the development of the NAL and narrates the

development of the library under the directorship of Foster Mohrhardt between 1954

and 1968. He was responsible for streamlining technical services and operations

among the network of national and international agricultural libraries and proved to be

quite insightful in providing services that were practical for users. One of these

changes was to the Library of Congress Subject Headings model and the publication

of the Dictionary Catalog of the National Agricultural Library. In fact, Mohrhardt

considered ‘experimentation with mechanical methods of information handling to be a

valuable part of the library's role in the provision of national services’. This is an

article that would be of particular interest to those who work in or study the

management of library resources or the historical shifts in library workings.

Dote, G., & Smith, E. (2000). Economic research of interest to agriculture, 1997-1999. Berkeley,

CA: Giannini Foundation of Agricultural Economics Library and the Dept. of

Agricultural and Resource Economics.

Grace Dote is the retired head librarian of the Giannini Foundation. This foundation,

which was established in 1930 and has an extensive network of member groups

numbering near 150, has an extensive collection of materials (200,000 items) that

include books, journals, pamphlets, working papers and maps. This bibliography

details the print materials in this collection and is therefore a wonderful resource for

students and researchers who do not have first hand access. There is also an online

version called Orpha available, but for perusing at leisure, this volume is probably
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easier to browse. It is arranged by subject. Again, this resourse also provides a

significant independent source that allows the user to compare and contrast with the

NAL.

Fretz, T. et al (208, February 27). National Agricultural Research, Extension, Education, and

Economics Advisory Board. Retrieved March 28, 2008, Web site:

http://www.ree.usda.gov/nareeeab/reports030708/NALreport0208.pdf

Dr. Fretz, Dean of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, and Director of

both the Maryland Agricultural Experiment Station and Maryland Cooperative

Extension, at the University of Maryland., has published more than 60 journal papers,

70 research reports and numerous book reviews, extension bulletins and popular

articles from his research activities. In this report, the results of a major five year

review, the board recommends actions considered are essential to sustain and

revitalize the National Agricultural Library as “the primary agricultural information

resource of the United States.” Past and present programs, holdings and functions of

the NAL are detailed in order to justify these requests. The changing world of

information maintenance and spiraling costs of the journals subscribed to by the

library are also included. This is of perhaps limited use to a larger audience, but gives

insight into the workings and desires of the Advisory board.

Gardner, M. A. (2007).Successful partnerships that work. IAALD Quarterly Bulletin,. 2 No3/4,

91-95.

Melanie A. Gardner is the AgNIC Coordinator, at the National Agricultural Library.

She has been part of the exciting development of the international database that is

linking the most important agricultural resources on the web by providing discipline
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specific websites. This article examines five of the international participants and their

contributions and participation in AgNIC. By tracing their participation it is easy to

see how others can contribute and how the system is designed to work. This article is

clear and precise and will be appreciated especially by those who are already part of

AgNIC or those who wish to be.

Gardner, M., Gilbertson, J., Hutchinson, B., Lynch, T., McCuie, J., & Pastor, A. (2002).

PARTNERING FOR IMPROVED ACCESS. ARL 223, 5-11.

This group of university librarians and lecturers have joined together to detail the

significant achievements of AgNIC, an alliance of 29 full partner institutions, 11

supporting organizations, and 38 subject specialized web sites that offer reference

services about agricultural topics. This is a collaborative project that has grown out of

the NAL and is an answer to the growing need for up to date online accessable

resourses. Each member is responsible for their special sector and the information is

then made available to all. There is cooperation among librarians, universities, state

and local governments, and extension agents. The list of people who benefit from this

recourse is quite long: everything from the 4-H member to the university professor.

Kumar, S. L. (2006). The changing face of government information: providing access in the

twenty-first century. New York: Haworth Information Press.

S. L. Kumar is the coordinator of information and research services and

government documents librarian at the University of Toledo. She is also an associate

professor of library administration and is widely published. This book is an extremely
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comprehensive examination of the use, access and reference service of government

documents. Since NAL published documents fall into this category, and indeed are

used as examples here, this extremely readable volume is a good instrument for other

librarians. It examines the changes that have taken place in going from the print to

largely digital environment and helps access the retrieval tools necessary for the

professional.

National Agricultural Library (U.S.). (2005). National Agricultural Library. Beltsville, MD: U.S.

Dept. of Agriculture, National Agricultural Library.

This volume gives an overview of the NAL, one of the world’s largest collections of

agricultural information. It is also a well used source of information that provides in

excess of 80 million direct customer service transaction a year. It includes information

on the history of the institution, the special collections housed in the library, and

different subjects included in the library like Agricultural economics, education,

extension programs and education, and many more. It explains the relation between

the NAL and the grant colleges that act as repositories. This is a good book for anyone

that wants to get a good feel for what the library is and how it operates.

National Agricultural Library, (2008, February 29). National Agricultural Research, Extension,

Education, and Economics Advisory Board. Retrieved March 4, 2008, from Agricultural

thesaurus and glossary Web site: http://agclass.nal.usda.gov/about.shtml

More than 75 sources are cited in the bibliography of the NAL Thesaurus and

Glossary. The online lists cover the extensive lists of vocabulary terms and are

available in both Spanish and English. The thesaurus can be searched by subject of
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alphabetical order. There is a detailed explanation of the hierarchy and relationships

between terms used. The glossary is a collection of the definitions used in agricultural

terms. There is an update of the 2008 version that includes the new descriptors and

replaced terms. This is a valuable resource for many people including professionals in

agricultural industries, technical writers and students.

NSF Center for Integrated Pest Management,, Agriculture. Retrieved March 30, 2008, from

WWW Virtual Library Web site: http://cipm.ncsu.edu/agvl/index3.cfm

This webliography gives a list of web pages categorized by general subjects which are

then further sub-divided on a second page. There is a link for web sites not included

that wish to ask for inclusion. It is easy to use, mainly by alphabetical search, and

contains a lot of very specialized web pages including academic, government and

industry sponsored sites. It is supported by the USDA. The only drawback is that it is

a little feast or famine: either lots of results or very few. It is still much more

manageable than a search engine like Google.

Young, P. R. (2004).The national digital ibrary for agriculture. IAALD Quarterly Bulletin,. 49, no

3/4, 114-122.

Peter R. Young is Director of the U.S. National Agricultural Library, and he leads

NAL’s programs in the agricultural, natural, life, and related sciences. He is widely

published. Young worked at the Library of Congress in various capacities from 1980

until 2002. He was Executive Director of the U.S. National Commission on Libraries
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and Information Science (NCLIS) From 1990 to 1997. In this article he advocates for

a national cyber structure supporting agricultural science that can address the growing

global challenges. He sees the NAL mission to be to increase the availability and

utilization of agricultural information. A National Digital Library for Agriculture is

proposed as the most sensible and workable solution for the international community.

This is an article that will appeal to and be useful for both information and agricultural

professionals.