Agriculture Collection

I. Collection Description


To support teaching and research through and beyond the doctoral level for the Departments of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural Engineering, Agronomy (crops and soils), Animal Sciences (including dairy science), Forestry, Horticulture, and Plant Pathology, and the Office of Agricultural Communications and Extension Education, Agricultural Entomology, International Soybean Program, and Vocational Agriculture. The Library also serves the needs of the on-campus and off-campus personnel of the Agricultural Experiment Station and the Cooperative Extension Services. Although the College of Agriculture's School of Human Resources and Family Studies, the Food Science Department, Nutritional Sciences Division, and Home Economics Education are served primarily by the Home Economics Library, the Agriculture Library meets some of the needs of these units as well. Agriculturally related teaching and research are carried out also in Applied Life Studies, Biology, Chemistry, City Planning and Landscape Architecture, Commerce, Communications, Ecology, Engineering, Geology, History, Law, Natural History Survey, and Veterinary Medicine.

History of Collection

The Agriculture Library began in 1912 following a study by a faculty committee appointed to investigate the feasibility of establishing an Agriculture Library. Student assistants were in charge of the collection which at first consisted of current agriculture periodicals, experiment station publications, and a few farm papers. In the spring of 1914, several thousand volumes on agriculture were transferred from the Main Library and were combined with the library books scattered among the departments of the College to form the agriculture collection. In 1915, a professional librarian was appointed, and the real development and growth of the Agriculture Library began. In the spring of 1924, the Agriculture Library moved to its present location in Mumford Hall. During the following years, the Library absorbed the holdings of several office collections, most notably Animal Genetics, Floriculture, Forestry, Agricultural Engineering, Agricultural Economics, Agronomy, and Vo-Ag Services.

Estimate of Holdings

200,000 volumes. Of this total, 70,000 volumes are in Agriculture and 130,000 volumes are in the Bookstacks.

State, Regional and National Importance

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is a land grant institution that has been collecting agricultural titles since 1867. Several private agricultural collections have been given to the University over the years. Most noteworthy are a nearly complete set of USDA publications given by Samuel Insull in 1919 and a personal collection given by the former Dean of Agriculture, Henry Perly Rusk. Today the University of Illinois continues these collections via the depository library system (the University of Illinois benefits from two federal depository designations), by exchanges, and by extensive purchases.

Unit Responsible for Collecting

Most of the selection of agriculture literature originates in the Agriculture Library. There are collection activities in the libraries that support the disciplines listed in the purpose statement.

Location of Materials

The majority of the agriculture collection is held in the Agriculture Library and in the Bookstacks. Related materials are also held in the Applied Life Studies, Biology, Chemistry, City Planning and Landscape Architecture, Commerce, Communications, Documents, Education and Social Science, Engineering, Geological Survey, Geology, History, Home Economics, Labor and Industrial Relations, Law, Map and Geography, Mathematics, Natural History Survey, Newspaper, Physics, Rare Book, Undergraduate, University Archives, Veterinary Medicine, and Water Survey Libraries.

Citations of Works Describing the Collection

Downs, pp. 5-6.

Kaniki, Andrew Musonda: "Evaluation of the University of Illinois Agriculture Library Collection in the Field of Tropical and Subtropical Agriculture." May 1, 1981. (Unpub.)

Major, pp. 39, 81, 152, 177.

II. General Collection Guidelines


Standard statement.

Chronological Guidelines

No restrictions. Strong interest in history of agriculture.

Geographical Guidelines

Worldwide scope.

Treatment of Subject

The primary focus is on current materials, although some retrospective collection evaluation is being planned with emeritus faculty of the College. Serials are becoming increasingly important and expensive. United States Department of Agriculture and state experiment station and extension publications that formerly were free now must be purchased. Thus fewer and fewer extension publications are being acquired from the states (except Illinois).

Materials are purchased for undergraduate and graduate teaching, for practicing farmers and agribusinesses, and for applied and theoretical research. The growth of the College to include theoretical as well as applied research is reflected in the increasing requests for interdisciplinary materials in areas such as biotechnology, engineering, environment, rural sociology, biology, mathematics, statistics, physics, and chemistry. These materials are purchased at the request of individual faculty members or students if other copies are not available to meet their needs.

Types of Materials

Standard statement. Audio-visual materials are not purchased by the Agriculture Library; the Office of Agricultural Communications and Extension Education provides this type of material and the equipment necessary for its use.

Although funds are not presently available for collecting materials in computer-readable formats, some collecting has been done and will increase as soon as funds are available. The following collection policies will guide the Agriculture Library

  1. Materials of use to researchers, teachers, and practitioners will be collected. Computer Assisted Instruction materials that are available on PLATO have been and will continue to be "collected" into an Agriculture menu that appears on all Agriculture Library PLATO terminals (this permits use without special sign-ons). Cataloging these materials seems logical but is difficult because the authors frequently change the programs or even withdraw them. No other CAl materials will be collected.

    Representative agricultural decision analysis software programs and generic software that assists in the control and manipulation of information (bibliographic file managers, shell expert systems, gateways to online databases, spread sheets, communications packages, word processing and indexing packages) will be collected.

    Data files of full text and numeric data will be collected if it is documented and organized (i.e., "nonpublished" raw data will not be collected). Data and text available in hardcopy will be duplicated in electronic format if there is any advantage gained (e.g., ability to manipulate the data).

    Major online databases available through the vendors BRS and DIALOG are already being "collected" by the Agriculture Library. Selection of remote databases not available from these vendors (e.g., the AGNET database maintained by the Nebraska Extension Service) is desirable (see article by Maria Porta for a beginning list of these databases).

  2. As much as possible, these materials will be integrated with materials in other formats, i.e., be cataloged, classified, and loaned (electronic versions loaned for onsite use only, hardcopy documentation loaned overnight).
  3. Only software and data tapes compatible with existing University hardware will be collected. In lieu of purchasing data tapes, the Library could serve as a Clearing House for data tapes purchased on any University funds. (This might best be accomplished by a single University Library office with a mandate from the Campus.)

Date of Publication

Standard statement.

Place of Publication

No restrictions.

III. Collection Responsibility by Subject Subdivisions with Qualifications, Levels of Collecting Intensity, and Assignments


Below is a table that lists specific subject subdivisions within the collection. Each row in the table lists a specific subject subdivision, followed by three columns noting: Collection Strength, Primary Assignments and Secondary Assignments. The Existing Collecting Strength column notes how well the existing collection covers that topic on a 1 to 5 scale with 5 being very strong. The Primary Assignments column lists departmental libraries that have the greatest collection intensity of subject materials, respectively. In the case of 2 or more libraries listed, the collection intensity is comparable. The Secondary Assignments column list departmental libraries where additional materials may be found.

Agriculture Collection
AGRICULTURAL BIOTECHNOLOGY 2 Agriculture Biology / Chemistry / Engineering / Physics
AGRICULTURAL COMMUNICATIONS 3 Agriculture Communications
AGRICULTURAL ECONOMICS - Agricultural law 2 Law Agriculture / Documents
Agricultural marketing 3 Agriculture Documents
Agricultural policy 3 Agriculture Documents / Newspaper
Agricultural prices and statistics U.S. 3 Agriculture Commerce / Documents / Newspapers / Reference
Foreign countries 2 Agriculture Commerce / Latin American / Reference / Slavic
Commodities and futures 3 Commerce Agriculture
Developing nations 2 Agriculture Africa / Commerce / Latin American / Women's Studies
Farm management 3 Agriculture  
Land economics 3 Commerce Agriculture
Rural real estate appraisal 3 Commerce Agriculture
AGRICULTURAL EDUCATION 3   Agriculture / Education / University Archives
AGRICULTURAL ENGINEERING 2 Agriculture Engineering
AGRICULTURAL HISTORY 3 Agriculture History / Slavic
AGRICULTURE United States 3 Agriculture Documents / Undergraduate
Great Britain 3 Agriculture  
Europe 2 Agriculture Slavic
Asia 2 Agriculture Women's Studies
Africa 2 Agriculture Africa / Women's Studies
Australia 2 Agriculture  
Latin America 2 Agriculture Latin American / Women's Studies
AGRONOMY 3 Agriculture  
Crop genetics 3 Agriculture Biology
Crop physiology 3 Agriculture  
Crop production 3 Agriculture  
Soil science 3 Agriculture Architecture / Engineering/Geology
ANIMAL SCIENCES 3 Agriculture  
Animal genetics and physiology 3 Agriculture Biology
Animal nutrition 3 Agriculture Veterinary Medicine
Dairy technology 3 Agriculture Home Economics
Meat technology 3 Agriculture Home Economics
Beef cattle 3 Agriculture  
Companion pets 2 Agriculture  
Pet therapy   Veterinary Medicine Applied Life
Poultry 3 Agriculture  
Sheep 3 Agriculture  
Swine 3 Agriculture  
Other livestock 2 Agriculture  
AQUACULTURE 4 Natural History Survey Agriculture
BIOMETRY 2   Agriculture / Biology / Mathematics-Statistics
BOTANY 4 Biology Agriculture / Natural History Survey
ENTOMOLOGY Control, integrated pest management-see also pesticides 4 Natural History Survey Agriculture / Biology
Economic entomology 4 Natural History Survey Agriculture / Biology
Insect physiology and toxicology 3 Biology Agriculture / Natural History Survey
FOODS AND NUTRITION 3 Home Economics Agriculture
Food chemistry 3 Home Economics Agriculture / Chemistry
Food technology 3 Home Economics Agriculture / Engineering
FORESTRY 2 Agriculture  
Ecology 2 Agriculture Biology / Natural History Survey
Silviculture 2 Agriculture  
Wood technology 2 Agriculture  
HORTICULTURE 2 Agriculture  
Floriculture 2 Agriculture  
Ornamental horticulture and landscape design 2 Agriculture City Planning
Pomology 2 Agriculture  
Turfgrass 2 Agriculture  
Vegetable crops 2 Agriculture  
PESTICIDES (herbicides and insecticides) 3 Agriculture Biology / Chemistry / Natural History Survey
Entomology-see above      
Epidemiology 3 Agriculture Biology
Mycology 3 Agriculture Biology / Natural History Survey
Nematology 3   Agriculture / Biology
Virology 3 Biology Agriculture / Natural History Survey
RURAL SOCIOLOGY 4 Sociology Agriculture / Slavic
TRANSFER OF TECHNOLOGY 3 Education Agriculture


Revision Date: November 2005