25 Years of USAIN: And so it began...

Ask people when USAIN started and they will most likely mention the November 1990 inaugural conference that was held at the University of Illinois. But what happened before that conference to get USAIN started? The following is from Toni (Powell) Greider's Food for Thought article 27(2) Nov-Dec-Jan 1995.

Attempts to organize the agricultural information professionals date back to 1967 when EDUCOOM formulated a network development plan and submitted it to NAL. In 1971, an Agricultural Sciences Information Network Committee was formed and in 1975, a conference for the implementation of the Agricultural Sciences Network took place. The efforts to form the network, however, were unsuccessful.

The Farm Bill of 1977 contained language strongly supporting cooperative agricultural activities. In 1982 the Interagency Panel of the NAL (known as the Blue Ribbon Panel) recommended that a network of public and private agricultural libraries and information centers be coordinated by NAL. At the request of the National Association of State Universities and Land Grant Colleges Subcommittee on Agricultural Information, a planning document was drafted and NAL acted as the coordinator of the network.

A network was planned, not a separate organization that would compete with ALA or SLA. Dues were to be kept at a minimum so that individuals could participate along with institutions. The network was to be open to any person or institution involved in agricultural information. The network’s goal was to promote and facilitate access to agricultural information for those who need it. The Network was christened the United States Agricultural Information Network and was designed to change and evolve as it matured.”

On October 26-27, 1988, the officers of the agricultural libraries and information network assembled at NAL to work out the details of the new organization. The officers of the as yet unnamed cooperative group were Nancy Eaton, Director of Libraries, University of Vermont President; John Beecher, Director, North Dakota State University, Vice-President; Carol Boast, Agriculture Librarian, University of Illinois, Secretary; and Melvin George, Director of Libraries, Oregon State University Treasurer.

-- Amy L. Paster

next chapter: The Conference

USAIN Celebrates 25 Years

A special logo and member pin was issued for the 25th anniversary

USAIN was founded in 1988 as a network of agricultural information professionals. Today, the organization still fosters collaboration, advocacy and professional development in support of agricultural information.

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