ACDC News – Issue 09-06

“Remember the poor sods who have to listen to you.” Those words, carved as graffiti on a lectern at Leeds University, were on the mind of Clive Dalton when he shared thoughts recently with members of the New Zealand Guild of Agricultural Journalists and Communicators. He praised the skills of a speaker who did just that – remembered the poor sods – in talking with journalism students.

“He restoreth my soul, and I saw a master at work,” Dalton explained. No PowerPoint visuals; “HE was the visual aid.” No movement from the lectern. Instead, the speaker remembered his audience. “He…was relaxed so made us feel relaxed, he used body language, facial gestures; he used varying voice tones with some fantastic mimicry…He used eye contact – self-deprecation. … He knew how we were feeling, and he ended with a clear motivating message for the students. He invited and dealt with the questions with warmth and respect, and we all wanted to hear more.

“Oh praise be, it was a wonderful example of how communication can be so effective and entertaining, if you get a few basic things right.”

Citation: Blessed be the communicators
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Roles for the agricultural library of the future. You can gain perspectives about the outlook for agricultural libraries by tuning in on a recent virtual conversation among members of the International Association of Agricultural Information Specialists.

Citation: What roles for the agricultural library
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Rural radio and mobile phones – a powerful mix. An article we added recently to the ACDC collection from PCWorld described efforts in Africa and elsewhere to help rural listeners interact in real time with radio programming. Examples cited:

  • Farmers sharing information about crop conditions and farming practices
  • Receiving and sending market prices for crops and livestock
  • Being interviewed over the phone
  • Asking questions during live radio shows via text messages

Reporter Ken Banks observed, “Although I’m a great fan of mobile phone technology, it isn’t by default the best tool for reaching out to rural communities. Radio – far from being outdated and irrelevant – remains a powerful, relevant and far-reaching medium. Unrivalled, in fact.”

Citation: Mobile phones join the rural radio mix

“Link rot” – Web-based erosion of agricultural knowledge. What happens when authors cite URLs in the reference sections of their publications – or organizations or individuals post reports or proceedings on web sites? “Link rot” happens. Live links become dead links. How much of such information is lost?

A research article published in the Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology offered a clue. Author Carmine Sellitto examined the permanence of 1,068 Web-located citations in 123 academic conference articles published between 1995 and 2003.

  • 46 percent of all citations to Web-located sources could not be accessed.
  • Collectively, the missing citations accounted for 22 percent of all citations, “which represents a significant reduction in the theoretical knowledge base underpinning many scholarly articles.”

Our approach, based on counsel from library archivists, is to capture online material when possible and preserve it in paper or electronic format. As a result, when you identify a document of interest in the ACDC collection and find in the citation that the noted URL is no longer working you should get in touch with us. We fight “link rot” by working to maintain access to all documents you identify in the ACDC collection.

And they tease us about talking to animals . Here’s more ammunition to use when detractors ask you (with that sly grin) if agricultural communicators talk to animals. We recently added to the ACDC collection the report of an Associated phone survey among 1,129 randomly chosen pet owners. Among the findings:

  • Two-thirds of the responding pet owners said they understand their animals’ barks, purrs and other sounds.
  • Sixty-two percent said that when they speak their pets get the message.
  • One-fifth said they and their pets understand each others’ sounds completely.

Citation: Poll: 67% of pet owners say they “talk”
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Communicator activities approaching

April 15-17, 2009
“Hot ideas and sizzling solutions.” 2009 Agri-Marketing Conference sponsored by the National Agri-Marketing Association (NAMA) in Atlanta, Georgia USA.

May 24-28, 2009
“25 years of strengthening international agricultural and extension education.” Annual conference of the Association for International Agricultural and Extension Education (AIAEE) in Puerto Rico.

May 27-29, 2009
Fourth international conference on ICT for development, education and training in Dakar, Senegal.

June 6-10, 2009
“When tillage begins, other arts follow.” ACE.NETC.09 sponsored by the National Extension Technology Conference (NETC) and the Association for Communication Excellence in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Life and Human Sciences (ACE), in Des Moines, Iowa USA.

June 13-16, 2009
“Branding communications with a kick.” Annual Institute of the Cooperative Communicators Association (CCA) in Kansas City, Missouri USA.

Words to be banished this year. We close this issue of ACDC News with some environmental and economy-related words considered worthy to be banish. They appeared in the “2009 List of Banished Words” from word-watchers at Lake Superior State University, Sault Ste Marie, Michigan. Here are a few of them nominated as worthy to be “banished…for mis-use, over-use and general uselessness:”

  • Green (and all its variables, such as “going green)
  • Carbon footprint
  • Bailout
  • It’s that time of year again

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What words related to food and agriculture might you add to a 2009 list as worthy to be banished?

Please send them to us by return e-note . Thanks.

Best regards and good searching. Please pass along your reactions, suggestions and ideas for the Agricultural Communications Documentation Center. Feel free to invite our help as you search for information. And please suggest (or send) agricultural communications documents we might add to this unique collection. We welcome them in hard copy (sent to Ag Com Documentation Center, 510 LIAC, 1101 S. Goodwin Avenue, Urbana, IL 61801) or in electronic format sent to .

Get in touch with us when you see interesting items in the ACDC collection and can’t gain full-text access through information in the citation, or through online searching. We will help you gain access.