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Collection Policy


The Knowledge Services Division (KSD) is one of four divisions within the National Agricultural Library (NAL). NAL ensures the acquisition, accessibility, and diffusion of information in all phases of food and agricultural science, as defined in section 1404 of the National Agricultural Research, Extension, and Teaching Policy Act of 1977. In support of NAL's mission, KSD endeavors to advance knowledge discovery in agricultural sciences through the acquisition, description,curation, preservation, dissemination, and visualization of scientific datasets.

This document further develops the scope of KSD's work and its potential for collaborative work with other federal government agencies and university affiliates.

Scope of Operations

In service of the library’s mission, the Knowledge Services Division focuses on scientific data as valuable agricultural information and supports projects which add value to agricultural data through digital curation, preservation, and activities to increase access to agricultural research data.

The division, as part of the NAL, is currently located within USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS). Given this organizational position, the division has engaged closely with ARS researchers in the past and will continue to do so. However, NAL is also a National Library and has partnered with other federal agencies, including the EPA, Department of Energy, and Department of Defense. Outside of the government, the primary groups of collaborators are agricultural research scientists at land grant colleges and universities in the United States, but the division has worked with international researchers as well as faculty members from non-land grant schools.

The potential users of KSD products include and extend beyond the list of collaborators above. The division is committed to improving data curation practice within the agricultural sciences and related disciplines.

Appraisals and Dispositions

Appraisal processes are part of library workflows and apply to projects and services managed by KSD. KSD may determine that an individual project no longer fits within the scope of the division’s activities and decide to transfer, donate, or destroy collections or digital data products under its control. Succession plans exist for individual KSD projects and outline specific plans for systems and data that no longer fit the division’s mission.

Collaborations within USDA and Beyond

KSD has successfully collaborated with both within ARS and USDA as well as externally, with university researchers in the United States and around the world. We are seeking new collaborations that fit our scope and mission. If you are interested in talking about your project idea or discussing a possible collaboration, please send an email to