Services On Specific Topics Improved

Software Demonstration Center Grows

NAL's Food and Nutrition Information Center (FNIC) expanded its National Software Demonstration Center for food and human nutrition software in 1993. During the year, FNIC acquired over 200 computer programs for the center's software collection. Subjects covered included diet analysis, meal planning, food service, nutrition education and recipe management. Programs were donated to the center by vendors and developers.

The center is used by visitors from throughout the United States and a list of the software in the center is available electronically and in print.

NAL Collects Materials on New Food Pyramid

In 1993, the USDA's Human Nutrition Information Service and NAL's Food and Nutrition Information Center signed a memorandum of understanding calling for the agencies to work together to build a database of educational materials on USDA's new Food Guide Pyramid. USDA developed the Food Guide Pyramid to provide the American public with basic information on good nutrition and healthful diets.

All materials acquired under this agreement become part of the NAL collection and appropriate items are listed in AGRICOLA.

NAL Increases Coverage of Plant Genetics

In support of USDA's Plant Genome Research Program, NAL's Indexing Branch continued to increase coverage of plant genetics literature in AGRICOLA. Since the initiation of the Plant Genome Research Program in 1990, AGRICOLA has accumulated over 25,000 citations related to molecular genetics. This is an increase of 240 percent in the number of citations added in 1993 over those added in 1990. The percentage of genetics and breeding citations that have full abstracts increased from just 20 percent in 1990 to over 50 percent in 1993.

Over 5,000 citations in AGRICOLA are identified as containing molecular sequence data. Efforts continue to enhance access to plant genetics information in AGRICOLA by improving NAL's indexing vocabulary in this subject area.

ATMIC Adds Trade Information

During the year, NAL's Agricultural Trade and Marketing Information Center (ATMIC) focused on building the NAL collection in the area of international trade and marketing. ATMIC added foreign market research reports, monographs, serials, software, videos and newsletters on all aspects of agricultural trade and marketing to the AGRICOLA database.

ATMIC solicited and gathered these materials from the U.S. Agricultural and Commercial attaches at U.S. embassies overseas, international trade development centers, state departments of agriculture, state international trade and marketing divisions, international and national agribusiness and trade organizations, and USDA agencies including the Foreign Agricultural Service, Economic Research Service and Agricultural Marketing Service/International Transportation Division.

NAL Conducts Food Irradiation Study

NAL'S Food and Nutrition Information Center in 1993 began a study on providing international access to food irradiation materials. During the year, the library converted an NAL-produced CD-ROM containing thousands of pages of unpublished food irradiation research materials to another software package, improving its usefulness.

Also, FNIC contacted a food irradiation expert to evaluate thousands of documents on food irradiation research conducted by the U.S. Army in the 1950s and 60s. The materials are being scanned for a series of CD-ROMs.

Germany, France, and other countries have indicated an interest in providing documents to an international center for food irradiation information to be located at NAL. NAL is seeking funding for this. The U.N.'s International Consultative Group for Food Irradiation and the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service strongly support this project.

Newsletter Fills Need for Plant Genome Info

In 1991, "Probe," the official newsletter of the USDA Plant Genome Research Program, was launched under the guidance of NAL's Plant Genome Database and Information Center (PGDIC). In 1993, its circulation had grown to 4,000 subscribers. The newsletter links Plant Genome Research Program managers and research scientists. "Probe" covers issues on NAL and individual species databases, reports from the program director's office and general interest developments. It is available internationally to scientists, educators and the general public.

Services Increased in Trade and Marketing

NAL's Agricultural Trade and Marketing Information Center stepped up to fill an information gap created when the U.S. Department of Commerce, in 1993, phased out some services to western U.S. agribusiness and the agricultural trade community. Persons requesting agriculture-related information assistance in the western region are now being assisted by ATMIC. As a result, ATMIC's reference/research requests have increased by 12 percent, and NAL's Reference Branch requests for trade and marketing information increased by 7 percent.

Publications Enhance Services

World List of Biotech Serials Completed

To help researchers, information specialists and librarians worldwide identify hard-to-locate serials, NAL's Biotechnology Information Center (BIC) compiled a World List of Agricultural Biotechnology Serials. As a subset of the "World List of Agricultural Serials," the new publication lists over 3,700 foreign and domestic periodicals that cover topics ranging from actinomycetes to zoology. The list was compiled with assistance from NAL's Cataloging Branch and Information Systems Division.

Emotional Abuse Addressed in Special Publication

A human development specialist with the Maryland Cooperative Extension Service and staff from NAL's Technology Transfer Information Center (TTIC) published "Selected Resources on Emotional Abuse of Children: An Annotated Bibliography for Researchers, Educators, and Consumers" in 1993. The publication contributes to the research base for the National Extension Vision and Mission for Children, Youth, and Families; Extension Plight of Young Children and Youth At Risk National Initiatives.