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Library-Extension-Experiment Station
Collaboration Initiative

The following links provide quick access to information about the events and issues leading up to the idea for convening of a Leadership Council for Agricultural Information and Outreach to consider developing a collaborative and integrated national agricultural information system.

1) Background on the Library-Extension Collaboration Initiative

The Agriculture Network Information Center (AgNIC) is nearly ten years old. During that time, it has grown into an alliance of 44 members with 38 linked web sites covering a wide range of agricultural topics. It has also migrated through several iterations of information technologies and now operates as a portal using web services applications. However, up to now, there has been limited financial support for AgNIC as a national-level initiative. At the same time, a new and similar effort is gaining momentum within Cooperative Extension called e-Extension, which may present new opportunities for collaboration. One view is that such a collaboration could become the basis for a more broad-based national, and even international, agricultural information and educational system involving both the library and extension communities. For the past several years, members of the AgNIC Alliance have been working to gain input from key library and extension leaders to discuss this possibility (see chronology of events). The discussions resulted in a number of recommendations including establishing a high-profile advisory group made up of library deans and directors, extension directors, and other leaders who could help guide AgNIC's development and evolution, and gain broader support for a national collaborative and user-focused effort for electronic agricultural information and outreach.


To this end, plans are being made to convene a Planning Group for a Leadership Council for Agricultural Information and Outreach, and an organizing group has been formed for that purpose. Potential objectives are to:

  1. consider a national vision and plan for a collaborative agricultural information and education system building on such current initiatives as the Agriculture Network Information Center (AgNIC);
  2. guide the AgNIC Alliance and the National Agricultural Library (NAL) in the role land-grant universities and other organizations might play in such a collaboration; and
  3. determine the operating procedures for a permanent Council. To assist the Council in its deliberations, the following information and materials were prepared by members of the AgNIC Executive Board, the U.S. Agricultural Information Network (USAIN), and the National Agricultural Library (NAL).

2) Summary Meeting Report of the Planning Group for a Leadership Council - November 18-19, 2004

3) Library-Extension-Experiment Station Survey Forms

4) Chronology of the Development of AgNIC and e-Extension and Recommendations Resulting from Meetings and Actions Taken

5) Comparison of AgNIC and e-Extension: Commonalities and Opportunities (pdf file 292 kb)

6) Meeting Reports:

7) Papers Related to Meeting Recommendations

8) Heatley-Gardner Paper on Developing a Digital Land-Grant Information System

9) AgNIC Web Site

10) AgNIC 2001 Article in ARL Newsletter -

11 ) AgNIC One Page Summary Handout (pdf file 117 kb)

12) NAL Web Site -

13) e-Extension Web Site -

14) How and Why to Build Collaborations