ACDC News – Issue 11-05

Using community radio in managing natural disaster. Not every community faces threats from volcano eruptions, tsunamis, floods, droughts, landslides or earthquakes. However, natural disasters take many forms and some communities prepare for them through emergency community radio.

One such initiative, Radio Punakawan, involves volunteers and others in Indonesia.  Such efforts began as emergency-response community broadcasting.  Later, they took on roles in community-based disaster preparedness, as well as in recovery and construction.

You can learn about it from this recent conference report .

“Agriculture is cool again.” That headline introduced an article describing a new University of Chicago course about agriculture.  Faculty member Kathy Morrison explained how it came into being.  She had noted that many of her students in environmental studies and anthropology were increasingly excited about topics related to contemporary agriculture.  Some took part in urban gardens. However, she said, they had an underdeveloped sense of how agriculture actually works.

An archaeologist who studies the history of agricultural change in India, Morrison introduced the course during 2010. Through it, she takes students into arenas as diverse as plant breeding, the role of farm animals, swidden and paddy rice farming, agrodiversity, intensive forms of agriculture and the cultural dimensions of agriculture. More .

Chat room feedback from rural community workers. An article we added recently from the Journal of Community Informatics reported on a pilot study in Canada involving rural community workers who used an online chat web site.  They were invited to take part in online facilitated discussions about topics linked to their specific interest groups (e.g., economic development, tourism, Chamber of Commerce).  Surveys at the end of the project revealed that:

  • 54 percent considered the topics and discussions “useful” or “very useful.”
  • Most (77 percent) said they encountered no problems with the technology.
  • Relatively few (27 percent) said they might continue to use chat rooms in their current work.  However, 65 percent gave their answer as “maybe.”

Authors concluded that new communications technologies such as chat rooms have the potential to be used productively to meet personal and community goals. However, “they must be effectively combined with other assets and circumstances in order for their benefits to be realized.”

Needs and strategies for struggling libraries in developing countries. A study across 25 developing countries revealed that libraries in them face uphill battles.  Elizabeth Gould and Ricardo Gomez found that, compared to other public access venues, libraries in those countries tended not to be perceived as important or useful places to get current information.  Nor did they hold high priority by government agencies for financial and policy support. As a result, many people, especially in rural areas, “have little or no exposure to ITCs and are not aware of their usefulness.” Authors suggested three strategies to help libraries adapt to the 21st century, draw in users and incorporate information and communications technologies.

Libraries, telecenters and cybercafés around the world .  We recently added to the ACDC collection a 2008 report that summarized public access venues such as libraries, cybercafés and telecenters in 25 countries. Researchers studied information needs and uses of information and communication technologies (ICT) in these venues, with special focus on underserved populations.

Media guidelines for agricultural safety .  Scott Heiberger of the National Farm Medicine Center, USA, described these guidelines in a feature posted recently on the website of the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists (IFAJ). These guidelines can be useful for reporters, advertisers and other communicators who describe and show agricultural practices.  He noted that “while not intentional, what we write, say and show as images can perpetuate and even increase unsafe agricultural practices.”  The article also introduced guidelines involving more than 60 hazards associated with farm chores and other activities in which children sometimes take part. More .

Communicator activities approaching.

  • April 10-12, 2011
    Spring meeting of the North American Agricultural Journalists (NAAJ) in Washington, D. C. Information:
  • April 13-15, 2011
    “Harvesting Ideas 2011.”  Conference of the National Agri-Marketing Association (NAMA) in Kansas City, Missouri USA. Information:
  • May 3-5, 2011
    “Inspiration in the Air.”  Annual meeting of the Turf and Ornamental Communicators Association in Asheville, North Carolina USA. Information:
  • May 26-30, 2011
    Annual Conference of the International Communication Association in Boston, Massachusetts USA. Information:
  • June 10-14, 2011
    Joint meeting of the National Extension Technology Conference (NETC) and the Association for Communication Excellence in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Life and Human Sciences (ACE) in Denver, Colorado USA. Information:
  • July 3-7, 2011
    “Sustainable value chain agriculture for food security and economic development.”  2011 World Conference of the Association for International Agricultural and Extension Education (AIAEE) in Windhoek, Namibia. Information:

What attendees do during webinars. If you’ve taught or conferred by webinar have you ever wondered what’s happening at the other end? If so, you may find interest in results when Cornell University researchers evaluated an educational webinar about woodlot management.

Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey, the world’s leading questionnaire tool. Compare you answers to their findings here. We will report on the survey results in the next issue!

Best regards and good searching.

Please pass along your reactions, suggestions and ideas. 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 .