Carla Casler, Eric Lease Morgan and Katie Newman, creators of Tomato Juice, an early guide to electronic journals in agriculture
25 Years of USAIN: Tomato Juice/AgZines
USAIN members are often at the forefront of innovation and service. Please enjoy the following article by Carla Casler about an early electronic journal finding tool created by USAIN members. Their efforts pre-date the Directory of Open Access Journals! Thank you, Carla, Katie and Eric!
In the mid-1990's, as digitization technology and equipment became more accessible and affordable, publishers explored options to develop electronic editions. Commercial publishers were interested in developing new products for revenue; many small, non-profit publishers were more concerned with making their publications available to a broader audience. And we librarians were eager to help them. Eric Lease Morgan and Katie (Clark) Newman each developed lists of such journals, society series, etc. The USAIN Communications Committee worked with them to merge the lists into one, which Eric called Tomato Juice as a prototype as we developed it.
At the 1997 joint USAIN/IAALD conference in Tucson, I asked many attendees to try Tomato Juice and to tell me if they found it useful. Those at large well-funded libraries were kind, but unimpressed with the effort, because they were far more involved with core journals, and so, more concerned with pricing of journal subscriptions. Librarians in small research organizations were more enthusiastic, particularly those in other countries or in international organizations. For these, document delivery and journal subscriptions were problematic in the best of times; free online access to information answered many of their needs. I particularly remember Rosemay Ng Kee Kwong, the librarian for the Mauritius Sugar Industry Research Institute, expressing great appreciation for our efforts to compile Tomato Juice. She said she would recommend it to her colleagues in Mauritius and in her professional organizations.
The Communications Committee continued hunting, discovering and documenting free online periodicals in Tomato Juice. In 2001, we presented a poster at the USAIN conference in North Carolina: Morgan, Eric Lease, Kathleen Clark, & Carla Casler. Tomato Juice – USAIN's Communications Committee's Fortifying Index of Agricultural Web Journals. We also surveyed attendees for a better name for our project -- the most popular suggestion was AgZines. Not long after that, Eric accepted a position at Notre Dame University. He offered to take AgZines with him to a Notre Dame server, but realizing that agriculture is not a subject taught at that university, we felt it best to incorporate AgZines into the USAIN website, maintained by the Arid Lands Information Center (ALIC) at the University of Arizona. As Eric left North Carolina State University for Notre Dame, AgZines moved to ALIC. For many years AgZines was the most visited section of the USAIN website.
As funding for the Arid Lands Information Center dwindled and Carla's position became precarious, we worked to find a more stable home for the USAIN website. In 2008 the website was transferred to Oklahoma State University and Heather K. Moberly became the webmaster. Unfortunately, time and resources were too scarce to update and expand the resource pages, including AgZines.
All is not lost, however, the Newjour listserv is being compiled into a database. This listserv documents electronic journals, commercial and non-profit, in nearly all academic subjects. Perhaps this will fill AgZines role:
"Dear NewJour subscribers,
This message is to provide you with an update on the status of NewJour during our brief hiatus this fall.
* Over 30,000 titles are being uploaded to a new searchable database
We anticipate NewJour's new site and notification system will be available to you on or about Monday, November 11. During the NewJour hiatus, we are continuing to collect information about new journals and will announce them through the RSS feed in November.
We will send out more details about the new site in a few weeks. If you have any questions or comments, please send them to me at email@example.com."
-- Carla Long Casler, retired, Arid Lands Information Center (AZ) and former USAIN webmaster
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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.