Library News
35th Anniversary of a Unique Resource and Service
May 20, 2016

This year marks the 35th anniversary of the Agricultural Communications Documentation Center (ACDC), a specialized international resource and service in the University Library. Based in the ACES (Funk) Library, it features the largest existing electronically-searchable collection devoted to communications aspects of agriculture, broadly defined.

The collection totals 42,000 documents involving agriculture-related communications in more than 170 countries. It covers more than 28 languages, extends from the 1800s to date, and includes non-conventional as well as conventional literature.

ACDC has blossomed beyond anything faculty members envisioned in 1981 when small grants permitted them to address a problem.

“We were frustrated by the lack of information available for teaching, research, and practice,” recalls emeritus faculty member Jim Evans.

A bibliometric analysis in 1981 found this literature widely scattered and growing substantially. A follow-up national survey among potential users confirmed their interest—and the project was launched.

Chandra Prabha, a Library and Information Science doctoral candidate in 1981, led the bibliometric research, helped plan the system, and provided other valuable services as the initial ACDC graduate assistant. “The opportunity to work toward creating an Agricultural Communications Documentation Center was a pleasure and a blessing,” she recalled.

Today, ACDC staff members gather information, help individuals search, host visiting scholars, publish materials, maintain the website, and carry out funded projects. The website hosts visitors from about 80 countries a month. Nearly 40 individuals have contributed documents, including unique resources such as oral histories, photo collections, and a collection of 800 Volume 1 Number 1 issues of U.S. agricultural periodicals.

ACDC has provided professional experience and financial support for 21 graduate students and eight undergraduate assistants during these 35 years. The University Library and College of ACES have provided vital operational and leadership support, bolstered by a team of volunteer associates.

Twin revolutions—in agriculture and communications—during these 35 years have highlighted how effective communications is essential to one of societies’ most basic endeavors. ACDC is helping address that mission. Please visit library.illinois.edu/funkaces/acdc or send e-mail to docctr@library.illinois.edu if you have ideas or wish to take part.

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