USAIN members have been leaders in areas of preservation and information access

National Preservation Plan

A National Preservation Program for Agricultural Literature was written by consultant Nancy Gwinn in 1993 under the leadership of a U.S. Agricultural Information Network Advisory Panel on Preservation. Following the adoption of the plan, USAIN established the National Preservation Special Project Committee to implement the plan.
Goals of the Plan are to preserve and provide access to agricultural literature published or produced prior to 1950. Preservation may involve treatment of originals or reformatting, depending upon the nature of the material being preserved. Goals are accomplished through a series of systematically organized and coordinated projects combined with local initiatives. The plan focuses primarily on U.S. publications. Projects supported through the National Preservation Program are expected to employ all relevant archival preservation standards and guidelines. The National Preservation Plan for Agricultural Literature was one of the first broad subject-based plans designed to systematically identify and preserve the literature of a discipline

Preserving the History of U.S. Agriculture and Rural Life Grant Projects

Cornell University, on behalf of the U.S. Agricultural Information Network (USAIN), and in cooperation with other land grant university libraries, received a series of grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to preserve the most significant published materials on the history of state and local agriculture and rural life. In the first phases of the project, USAIN provided funding for consultant Carolyn Clark Morrow to write the grants. The grant project uses a model developed for the National Preservation Program for Agricultural Literature, partnering scholars and librarians to identify and preserve the most significant agricultural literature of a state.

From 1996-2006, 29 states participated in this project to systematically identify and preserve the literature of agriculture and rural life. Participating state partners were responsible for the literature of their state. Most projects involved two phases: in phase one, a bibliography of the literature published in a state between 1820 and 1945 was compiled. As part of this phase, a panel of scholars was assembled to review the bibliography and rank each item for preservation priority. In phase two, the participating state obtained copies of the highest priority literature and did microfilm reformatting for preservation. A master copy of the microfilm are stored in a suitable site for long-term preservation and a second master was deposited at the National Agricultural Library. A few later projects created digital copies of the publications. Details can be found on the project website.


The AGRICOLA literature database created by USDA's National Agricultural Library (NAL) is a fundamental research tool in agriculture and related disciplines. A series of projects undertaken by the AGRICOLA Interest Group between 1998 and 2002 provided critical evaluative information for the USAIN members as well as the National Agricultural Library.
  • In 1998 a users survey was conducted which resulted in a series of recommendations to the NAL which included items related to completeness, timeliness, formats and publication types, and searching. (pdf)
  • In 2001, the AGRICOLA Interest Group provided a vendor-based overview of AGRICOLA. At the time, numerous vendors provided access to the AGRICOLA database. The overview presented useful comparisons among the vendors to aid users in selecting a preferred vendor source. (pdf)
  • An AGRICOLA journal coverage analysis by subject area was conducted in 2002. Disciplines included agricultural and biosystems engineering, animal science and livestock production, core journals, environmental science and natural resources, field crops, food science, forestry, human nutrition, soil science, and veterinary science. (pdf)

National Agricultural Information Infrastructure

In 2005, the president of USAIN, Luti Salisbury, charged a task force to draft a white paper "(a) documenting the important role and contributions of agriculture and the agricultural information community to the well-being of society; (b) identifying current players and systems in the U.S. agricultural information environment; (c) reviewing national and international trends in information technologies, standards, and user demands; and (d) suggesting options and opportunities for developing a more efficient, coherent, and collaborative infrastructure that will be scalable over time." Making the Case for a Next-Generation Digital Information System to Ensure America's Leadership in the Agricultural Sciences in the 21st Century was issued by USAIN in 2008. (pdf)

Best Practices in Collaboration and Cooperation Among Libraries, Cooperative Extension, and Agricultural Experiment Stations in Land-Grant Universities

In 2004 and 2005, a task force comprising members from several organizations including AgNIC, ARL and ALA surveyed land grant libraries, experiment stations, and extension experts to identify best practices in collaboration.  Outcomes include a report (pdf) and specific survey results (pdf). 

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