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Due to limited staff, the ACDC does not have official office hours. On-site visits and phone calls are by appointment. Email the center for appointments, document delivery, or reference services. We look forward to hearing from you.


Mailing Address

510 ACES Funk Library
1101 S. Goodwin Ave.
Urbana, IL 61801 

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Feb 10, 2014

ACDC Progress

Agricultural Communications Documentation Center
Progress Report for 2012

Table of Contents:

1.  Administrative

2.  Programming and Services

1.     Administrative

Staffing and Operations

The ACDC Staff had a productive year.  Staffing for the academic year was as follows: Joyce C. Wright, ACDC Coordinator; Stephanie Pitts-Noggle, graduate assistant, joined the Center January 2012; Michelle Fluty, student assistant, graduated May 2012 with a degree in Agricultural Communications and is currently employed with University of Illinois Extension Service; Olivia Harris, an Agricultural Communications undergrad, is the new hourly student assistant.

Our associates continue to play a major role in the success of the Center: Katie Abrams, agricultural communications faculty member, University of Illinois; Devi Annamali, bio-chemistry scholar at Sloan Kettering Hospital, New York City; Liz Harfull, associate for the Asia-Pacific Region, based in South Australia; Jim Evans, emeritus professor of agricultural communications, University of Illinois; Steve Shenton, emeritus professor of communications and journalism, Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania; Karlie Elliott Bowman, editor of IFAJ News, newsletter of the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists; Paul Hixson, associate for information and communication technology; and Pat Allen, librarian of the Funk ACES Library. Thomas O’Malley, an hourly assistant, helped on projects during two summer months.

System Development

Staff members are pleased to report that our new database management system, BibLeaves, is functioning, replacing the MS Access system that had grown inadequate.  Collaboration with Library IT staff led to the roll-out of the new system during Fall Semester 2012. BibLeaves is a web-based bibliographic system developed by the University of Illinois Library. It can display the citation in numerous formats and permits the user to email or text that chosen citation.

A new web-based citation entry form also was completed during the year.  ACDC staff members can enter citations online from a broad range of locations.  Using the new form, associates added approximately one thousand new citations to the database.

In addition to the new database management system, the ACDC website was revamped with a new look and enhanced content.  ACDC now has a presence on Twitter and other social media sites.

The ACDC Lib-Guide was updated to facilitate access to materials in the field of agricultural communications. More than 1,900 libraries of all types and sizes use Lib-Guide to connect patrons and share information online about their resources.

ACDC became a part of the University new Lync system. The Center has a new number with the migration to a new phone system.

Two new computers were installed for ACDC associates, as well as a new scanner.

Stephanie Pitts-Noggle, graduate assistant, worked diligently with Camilla Fulton from Library IT on updating ACDC on CMS.

Michelle Fluty completed an inventory of materials in the ACDC collection, identifying missing, damaged or misfiled documents.  Olivia Harris began an in-depth box review of the collection.

Strategic Planning and Action

The Center continued to serve as a special resource for the academic program in Agricultural Communications, dual program of the College of Media and the College of ACES. Relations with Professor Katie Abrams, agricultural communications faculty member, supported our outreach with students in the program.

Outreach is increasingly important to the Center. Last fall, Joyce Wright gave a presentation to new College of ACES faculty members and acquainted students in an orientation course, AGCM 110, with resources of ACDC. ACDC associates gave a presentation of the new ACDC database management system and new ACDC website at the weekly Funk ACES Library Reference Meeting. Jim Evans and Joyce Wright met with administrators from the Chinese Leadership Program on campus to identify what the Center could offer visiting participants in their program.  An ACDC display in the reception area of ACES Library helped students and other on-campus users get acquainted with resources in the Center.

ACDC staff members also met with Jennifer Teper, head of Library Preservation and Conservation, to discuss preservation and housing of the new Volume 1, Number 1 Collection of agricultural periodicals.

2.     Programming and Services

Document Collection

The ACDC Collection consisted of 38,045 documents at the close of 2012. This is an increase of nearly 1,000 documents during the year, almost meeting the goal of adding at least 100 documents a month. Documents in the collection represent agricultural-related communication in more than 170 countries. The Center receives non-print materials, also.

During the spring the Center received John Harvey’s Volume 1, Number 1 Collection. This unique collection consists of more than 500 first issues, anniversary issues or other special issues of agricultural periodicals in the U.S. during the past 140 years.  Stephanie Pitts-Noggle and Michelle Fluty are commended on the great job of unpacking this collection. Stephanie arranged all the titles in an Excel database.  The Library’s Conservation and Preservation Department is assisting with rehousing the collection for access to our users.

Joyce Wright continued to process the Kerry F. Byrnes Collection. By the end of the spring semester of 2013 this collection should be completed and searchable online through BibLeaves.

Several other collections of agricultural communications documents remain to be reviewed and made identifiable in the ACDC search system.  Among those to be reviewed are records of the American Agricultural Editors’ Association, which were processed recently into the University Archives.

Serving Users

Online Usage

Due to a computer malfunction, Center staff members were unable to track online usage for the year.  However, the Agricultural Communications Documentation Center remained a very popular source of information for agricultural communicators, scholars, students and other users. For example, among 168,000 websites identified through a Google search on “agricultural communications,” the ACDC website comprised two of the top five links.  The Center website appeared among the top four sites identified through a meta-search system that tracked Google, Yahoo and Yandex.

ACDC Newsletter

Nineteen issues of the e-newsletter, ACDC News, were posted on the website during 2012. By highlighting some of the literature being added to the collection, nearly twice a month it alerted more than 1,000 readers to agricultural communications research, methods, events and issues throughout the world.  A few of more than 100 topics addressed during 2012 included:

  • Is the Internet killing rural community journalism?
  • Communicating about climate change
  • Keeping agricultural information private
  • How Philippine print media covered agricultural biotechnology
  • Re-defining the ways farmers manage risks
  • TV viewing, outdoor play and obesity of rural and urban school children
  • The seven deadly sins of agricultural photography

Partnership with the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists

ACDC Associate Karlie Elliott Bowman continued to edit the monthly e-newsletter, IFAJ News, during 2012.  Also, through the arrangement that ACDC established during the previous year, Professor Emeritus Henry Garlic provided German translation for those monthly issues. In cooperation with IFAJ leaders.

ACDC personnel also carried out a variety of other services in support of the professional development mission of IFAJ.  Jim Evans coordinated an effort through which ACDC provided four new professional development features for IFAJ members and others who visit the IFAJ website. Seven IFAJ members (including Evans) contributed to a three-part series that emphasized safe and effective agricultural photography.  Those articles included: “One step right and hold on tight. Steady now,” “Plant the foot. Get a grip. Careful now” and “Seven most deadly sins of agricultural photography: today and 40 years ago.” The fourth article, “Alfred van Disk: authority in agricultural writing,” featured the career of an honored agricultural journalist in The Netherlands.

The Center also continued to serve IFAJ by providing information to members on an individual basis, announcing IFAJ activities and new professional development features through the ACDC newsletter, and identifying a special section, “IFAJ Members’ Guide,” on the ACDC home page.

Visiting Scholars and Professionals

Scholars and professionals visited the Center during 2012. Those who traveled farthest were Hans-Heinrich and Claudia Berghorn from The regional German Farmer’s Union, WLV (West Faelisch-Lippischer Landwirtschaftsverband) based in Muenster, Germany.  They examined international literature about benchmarks and best practices in agricultural communications, including ways to improve public understanding of agriculture.

Special Searches, Requests and Contacts

Associates in the Center provided individual services in response to a broad range of questions and requests from dozens of persons throughout the world.  Here are some of the topics involved in those requests:

  • Distance education methods for teaching farm management (Japan)
  • Communications in the development of precision farming
  • Communications resources for a USDA conservation reserve readiness project
  • Historic agricultural advertisements  (for a display)
  • Communications in support of natural resource management (Vietnam)
  • Intergenerational communications in succession planning of farm businesses (New Zealand)
  • Development of agricultural media and methods in the U.S.
  • Agricultural extension practices in Africa
  • Role and impact of farm publications in American agriculture since the 1800s
  • Education needs for agricultural communications students
  • Proceedings of a workshop in development support communication (Philippines)
  • Writing agricultural blogs (Canada)
  • Diversity research in agricultural communications
  • Record of program sponsorship by an agri-marketer in support of agricultural editors
  • Promoting innovations through extension programs (international development agency)
  • Course resources about citizen journalism and multi-media  agricultural writing (Canada)
  • Undergraduate curricula in agricultural communications
  • Gender aspects and relations in agricultural organizations
  • Case studies of agriculture-related communications in Africa
  • Influence of a professional organization on academic programs in agricultural communications

Partnership with AgNIC

The University of Illinois continued to serve as national "center of excellence" in agricultural communications as a partner in the Agriculture Network Information Center (AgNIC) of the National Agriculture Library. ACDC serves as the portal for information about agricultural communications within this worldwide online agricultural information system.

More "Useful Links"

The Center added a new section, “Explore Special Projects,” on the website.

Outreach Initiatives

Joyce Wright and Jim Evans took several steps during the year on the basis of their review of potentials for expanding an outreach dimension of the ACDC mission. They met with leaders of the Mortenson Center for International Library Programs; associate director if the UI Office of International Programs and Studies; leaders of the Center for Translation Studies; a leader of Modernizing Extension and Advisory Services (MEAS), an international program within the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences; and a consultant for a new crop genetics project being developed to serve smallholder farmers in Kenya.

They also established contact during June with leaders of the China Executive Leadership Programs (CELP), a respected executive education initiative of the Office of International Programs and Studies. Discussion focused on whether and how ACDC might support the mission of CELP in ways such as presenting communications instruction related to the needs of Chinese executives whose responsibilities involve agriculture and rural development. Sample topics were identified through follow-up discussion and during late 2011 ACDC staff members began to draft a teaching outline for the first session.

Another outreach initiative during 2011 involved participation in a joint funding proposal to provide a training program for agricultural journalists and communicators in Serbia. Also, Center personnel corresponded with the director of Farm Radio International about possible ways in which resources of ACDC might serve rural broadcasters throughout Africa.

Encouragement from Users

  • "Thank you very much for your prompt and fruitful advice."
  • "I like receiving the notices about the ACDC updates.  It’s a nice way to keep up with what is happening in the world of Ag Comm."
  • "I’m a big fan of your work."
  • "I am overwhelmed by the effort you have put into this, and I truly appreciate it."
  • "Yes, I was quite successful in finding what I needed at the ACDC.  I was spoiled for choice, in fact."
  • "Thank you so much! I really appreciate your help with this project."
  • "Terrific work on this!"
  • "ACDC News is full of very useful reports, which are also here on this side of the pond, always of interest. "
  • "I could not have written my paper without you!"
  • "ACDC News…is a wealth of information about agricultural communications."
  • "Great stuff, as always."
  • "Thank you, Joyce!"
  • "Perfect, thank you!"
  • "The information is really helpful and I greatly appreciate the time you took to gather it."
  • "I enjoy reading your e-newsletter."
  • "Fantastic!  Thanks so much."
  • "This will help greatly and I know I will have additional questions as I go."
  • "Thanks to you and your team for the good work you do."
  • "This is superb information."
  • "These are all helpful leads.  I appreciate the quick response!"
  • "Thank you so much for this list.  Several of the people and organizations on this list sound really interesting"

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