Cooperation

NAL and Land-Grant
Universities Add
State Publications
to Database

Since 1984, approximately 83,700 citations for State-produced agricultural publications have been added to NAL's AGRICOLA database as a result of cooperation between land-grant universities and NAL under the NAL/Land-Grant University State Agricultural Publications Program.

The National Agricultural Cooperative Cataloging (AGX) Program consists of a network of libraries that prepare machine-readable cataloging for agricultural titles. The program has seen significant growth in recent years. In 1990, the program's scope was expanded to include citations for agricultural theses and dissertations. In 1991, Colorado State University, Louisiana State University, and the Universities of Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, and New Hampshire joined the University of Florida, the University of Nebraska, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in contributing citations of current research materials.

In 1992, the University of Arkansas and the University of Kentucky became participants. In 1993, Ohio State and Texas A&M Universities renewed their participation in the Cooperative Cataloging Program, and the University of Nevada and Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University began contributing records. Discussion began in 1993 to bring Kansas State University (KSU) into the AGX program as part of the KSU/NAL demonstration project, whose mission is to establish standard practices for providing current and long-term access to educational materials in all media. As part of this project, in 1994 KSU began contributing agricultural titles to AGRICOLA.

RIC Participates
in National Rural
Development
Program

NAL's Rural Information Center (RIC) is working with USDA's Rural Development Administration (RDA), National Community Action Foundation (NCAF), and National Congress for Community Economic Development (NCCED) to increase USDA's capacity to reach limited-resource, minority, and low-income communities effectively. This public-private partnership is identifying successful projects, project management techniques, and related information and materials to assist in community development. RIC has taken the lead in defining user requirements for information content and format. The materials will be made available to practitioners in rural communities in various formats, including electronic access on the Internet and publications.

NCAF and NCCED represent networks of practitioners who work in and with low-resource communities, and the project will draw on the experiences of community-based organizations. RDA will establish electronic database sharing networks with low-resource communities and provide overall project direction.

RDA selected RIC as the other USDA participant because "it has established the capacity to provide and disseminate practical information to rural public officials, community leaders, and organizations (public and private) who work to promote development in rural communities."

AFSIC Manages
Sustainable
Agriculture
Network

As a member of the Sustainable Agriculture Network (SAN), and NAL representative to SAN, NAL's Alternative Farming Systems Information Center (AFSIC) continued advising the SAN coordinator on technical issues as well as on issues related to budget, program, and administration of the network.

SAN was formed in 1990 to encourage and support alternative agricultural techniques. It is a cooperative effort of organizations representing State and Federal Governments and private industry to disseminate information on sustainable agriculture. It was developed by a group of volunteers with support from USDA's Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program.

SAN databases are available for searching through gopher and soon will be available on World-Wide Web. Databases include--

In 1994, AFSIC promoted the use of SAN by mailing materials to 300 sustainable agriculture nonprofit organizations, encouraging State Cooperative Extension Sustainable Agriculture Coordinators to purchase a Directory of Sustainable Agriculture Experts for all county agents and specialists, and assisting in design of new SAN displays produced by the University of Missouri Cooperative Extension Service and a national SAN brochure.

RICHS Helps Rural
Doctors and Nurses
With Electronic
Communication

With assistance from NAL's Rural Information Center Health Service (RICHS), rural physicians and nurse midwives were able to tap into NAL's computer bulletin board, ALF, to exchange information.

RICHS provided instruction and technical assistance to the American Academy of Family Physicians that enabled them to establish a Rural Family Physician Subboard on ALF. This board allows nationwide electronic networking for rural physicians. RICHS also helped the Rural Certified Nurse Midwives (RCNM) set up an ALF subboard that allowed them to informally communicate electronically on a wide range of professional issues. The members of the RCNM user group included practitioners, students, and instructors who are often professionally isolated in rural areas. The RIC/RICHS staff provided continuing technical and educational support for users.

RCNM users were so pleased with electronic networking that they applied for and received a grant to start up their own electronic bulletin board. Their new board provides toll-free access, which is an essential component for the success of electronic networking in rural areas.

NAL Participates
in National
Cataloging
Program

NAL was selected as a participant in the National Coordinated Cataloging Program, a cooperative cataloging program of the Library of Congress (LC) in which selected libraries produce full, high-quality cataloging for the LC database and bibliographic utility. NAL began full participation in July 1993 and since that time has over 200 records.

NAL and NLM
Cooperate on
GenBank Scanning
Project

The Plant Genome Data and Information Center began a cooperative project with the National Library of Medicine's (NLM) National Center for Biotechnology Information in June 1992. The purpose of the project is to identify nucleotide sequences for inclusion in GenBank, an international database for nucleotide sequences, and ultimately in the Plant Genome Database.

In 1993, 3,124 bibliographic records were evaluated for inclusion in GenBank. A total of 5,316 records have been identified since the beginning the project in 1992. These records were analyzed by the indexing staff at NLM as a quality check on the bibliographic coverage for the GenBank project.

This project is coordinated among all three divisions at NAL: Public Services' Plant Genome Data and Information Center, Technical Services' Indexing Branch, and Information Systems' Current Awareness Literature Service. The project has provided a successful and valuable service for a major international database effort.

System Links Sites
for Statistical
Tracking

The second phase of a USDA aquaculture evaluation study funded by NAL's Aquaculture Information Center (AIC) was initiated. As part of the study, AIC established Aquaforum, an electronic communications system that includes a statistical database, a private e-mail module, and a hypertext module. Through Aquaforum, aquaculture information sites in the United States entered reference statistics to an AIC fileserver to track and profile services provided by the sites and AIC.

Participating were Auburn University, Iowa State University, Louisiana State University, University of Delaware, University of Hawaii, and Washington State Department of Agriculture. The University of Hawaii received data from a subsystem that linked remote Pacific sites. These data were included in Aquaforum.

Analysis of the data will assist in identifying strengths and weaknesses in information delivery programs and in improving aquaculture information services.

NAL Links Up With
National Food
Service Institute

Authorized under the Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act of 1989, the National Food Service Management Institute (NFSMI) has a trust fund cooperative agreement with NAL linking the resources of NAL's Food and Nutrition Information Center (FNIC) with NFSMI at the University of Mississippi in Oxford. An NFSMI nutritionist has been assigned to FNIC's offices, and reference calls to the Institute's toll-free number are automatically switched to FNIC for response. NAL also provides document delivery services to NFSMI clientele.

Biomonitoring
Database Produced
With NAL Help

In cooperation with NAL's Biotechnology Information Center (BIC), USDA's National Biological Impact Assessment Program released a CD-ROM biomonitoring database. The database contains biosafety information on the release of genetically engineered organisms into the environment.

Composed of full-text environmental assessments produced by USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, the database is intended to provide scientific risk-assessment information to the biotechnology research community, State and local governments, public interest groups, and the interested public. BIC assisted in collecting records for the database, in obtaining copyright clearances, and in producing and distributing the CD-ROM.

NAL Strengthens
Ties to Black
Colleges and
Universities

In an effort to improve cooperation and strengthen partnerships with historically black colleges and universities, NAL has provided internships for individuals from 1890 institutions. A member of the staff of John B. Watson Memorial Library, University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, trained for 6 weeks at NAL. A student majoring in agribusiness at the University of Maryland-Eastern Shore, trained for several months. The interns received extensive orientation to NAL programs, services, and technology and practical experience in public service operations.

Members of the 1890 Land-Grant and Tuskegee University Library Directors' Association met with the NAL director and key library staff during an association meeting in Washington, DC. NAL staff provided technology demonstrations and program updates.

NAL Serves as
USDA Grants
Cooperator

NAL continued to serve as a USDA agency cooperator for several grants awarded under USDA's 1890 Institutions Capacity Building Grants Program. The program advances the teaching and research capacity of 1890 land-grant universities and Tuskegee University. Projects covered by the grants and assisted by NAL are--

The program requires cooperation with one or more USDA agencies in developing and implementing projects. The agency cooperator role further strengthens USDA ties to 1890 institutions.

NAL Manages
USDA Plant
Genome Database

NAL is playing a key role in the USDA National Genetics Resources Program, a cooperative effort of the Agricultural Research Service, the Cooperative State Research Service (now Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service), and NAL to incorporate germplasm conservation with five genome research programs (plant, tree, animal, insect, and microorganisms).

NAL is responsible for data gathered from the genome research programs and from the international research community. This information is stored in a master database which is used by plant breeders and molecular geneticists.

In 1994, the Plant Genome Database (PGD) evolved from the design and development stage to full production. It consists of genome data from five species groups--wheat, maize, soybeans, pine, and Arabidopsis--as well as relevant bibliographic data from AGRICOLA. Interactive access to PGD is provided via the Internet. The database provides links to other relevant databases such as DNA and protein sequence databases and the Agricultural Research Service's Germplasm Resources Information Network.

The database will expand to include data from solanaceous crop plants, rice, cotton, and ultimately about 70 important crops. A CD-ROM release of the PGD is also planned.