Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is the ACDC?

A: The ACDC is a collection that brings together materials that address issues related to both agriculture and communications. All items in our collection must focus on both areas in order to be applicable for inclusion in our collection. The collection may be accessed through our specialized search function, BibLeaves . If you are interested in a document in our collection that you cannot access online, please contact us . We are able to scan and send up to twenty pages for use in your research.

In addition to serving as a special collection in the ACES library, the Center provides several services for our patrons. We are able to offer specialized help for researchers of all skill levels and backgrounds. We invite you to read out Personal Search Help page for further information on all the ways we are able to help. Furthermore, the Center publishes a twice-monthly e-Newsletter that examines current trends in the field, spotlights relevant literature the Center is collecting, and features insights from Agricultural Communicators all over the world. Feel free to look through our Newsletter Archive for more information.

If you believe the Center’s unique collection and/or services may be of use to you, feel free to email us at, call at 217-300-0029, or schedule a visit to the Funk ACES library , where our offices and collection are located.

Q: What is unique about the ACDC?

A: The ACDC collection is the only one of its kind; it is the largest resource of information about agricultural communications. As a result, we have patrons accessing our database from all over the world.

In addition to the unique subject matter of the materials we collect, we also offer very personalized services to help all patrons with research questions related to all dimensions of agricultural communications. For further information:

Q: What does “agriculture” include in this ACDC resource?

A: “Agriculture” can encompass any aspect of the food, fiber, agri-energy, natural resource, and rural sectors of societies.  For example, it can deal with:

  • Any agricultural subject matter area (e.g., crops, livestock, equipment, bioenergy, management, marketing, financing, sustainability, policy).
  • Natural resource and environment topics, as related to agriculture and rural interests (e.g., soil conservation; watershed management; rural recreation; water pollution from livestock operations, fertilizer and chemical runoff, and other farm sources).
  • All phases of the food/fiber complex, from production through consumption.
  • People and organizations involved in food and agriculture (e.g., farmers, agribusiness, colleges and universities, extension services, scientists, research organizations, government agencies, non-governmental organizations).
  • Rural/Agricultural development (concepts, methods, issues).
  • Rural  community wellbeing and development.

Q: What does “communications” include in this ACDC resource?

A: “Communications” can involve:

  • All participants in the food/fiber chain (e.g., farmers, agribusiness, consumers).
  • Any form of human interaction: intrapersonal, interpersonal, group, mass.
  • What people know (awareness, knowledge), feel (attitudes, opinions), intend (behavioral intentions), or do (actions).
  • How they gather information, learn and make decisions.
  • Communications media/channels, systems, organizations, skills/methods, programs, technologies, concepts, issues.
  • Professional communicators, their roles, effectiveness, professional growth.

Note: The ACDC collection does not include literature about formal (credit-based) education, except that related to agricultural journalism and communications.  Literature about school-based agricultural education is available in other collections, such as ERIC. We do, however, collect documents about non-formal education, such as extension workshops or field schools for farmers.

Q: Where do I start?

A: A good place to start is by going to our document search, BibLeaves . Our documents can be searched for by title, author, and keyword. If you are interested in a particular subject, you may consider starting out by looking at our Search Term Guide ; this will help you locate the terminology that the ACDC uses to subject-index our collection, which in turn will produce more fruitful results for your keyword-based searches.

BibLeaves can further narrow your search parameters by publication year and format, so you are able to locate the most relevant documents for your search. Please see our Useful Tips page for more information on using BibLeaves effectively.

If you need advice or help identifying potentially helpful and relevant materials for your project, do not hesitate to contact us via phone or email . Our subject matter experts are happy to help you identify documents, keywords, and authors to consider in your research, even if you’re on a tight deadline.

Q: How do I find and access documents?

A: We recommend beginning your document search by searching in BibLeaves. For more information about Bibleaves, please see our Useful Tips page . Alternatively, if you need help identifying relevant documents, please do not hesitate to contact us.

The ACDC collection is non-circulating. We try to provide links to all of our items that are available online and we try to keep them updated as much as possible, but it is very common for links to lose their functionality. If you find a dead link, please email us at . Furthermore, depending on your institutional affiliation, you may not be able to access certain documents; again, please contact us for access.

We also provide scanning services for documents that are fewer than 20 pages long. For longer documents, please consider using inter-library loan . You are also invited to make an appointment to come to the Center to conduct your research. The Funk ACES library has scanners and printers you may use to make copies of our documents for research purposes.

Q: How can I get personal help with my assignment/project/paper/research/etc.?

A: Contact us by email at or by phone at 217-300-0029. If you’re not sure we offer the kind of help you need, please see all the services we offer on our Personal Search Help page; we are here to help!

Q: What is the Center’s scanning policy?

A: When appropriate under fair use provisions, the Center will scan requested documents that are fewer than 20 pages in length for use in and educational and/or research context. Other arrangements will be considered with you for longer documents or those not easily scanned.

Q: What charges are involved in services provided by the Center?

A: That there are no charges for our services to the public or academic community, however if the request is not available in our collection we can make inquiries through inter-library loan and other resource venues.

Q: How do I contribute items or suggest materials for the Center?

A: We welcome suggestions for new materials to add to the Center’s collection. Please email Professor Jim Evans with suggestions at or Sarah Williams at

If you believe you have materials that would be of interest to the Center and you are interested in contributing them to the collection, please read through our Contribute Materials page. If you’re not sure about the kind of materials we collect from donors, we encourage you to look over our Contributed Collections page.

Q: How can I become part of the ACDC team?

A: You can become a volunteer staff associate, helping identify and bring resources into the ACDC collection as you keep yourself up to date on your area of interest in agricultural journalism and communications. For example:

  • Want to “cover” what is happening in an agricultural communications topic of special interest to you?  A few examples: communications about agri/food biotechnology, animal welfare or soil conservation; strategic agricultural campaign planning, professional development in this field, ethical aspects, rights and roles of rural media, agricultural risk communications.
  • Want to “cover” agricultural journalism and communications in a particular geographic area ? A few examples: Philippines, Kenya, Indonesia, UK, Japan, India, Switzerland, Brazil, Canada.
  • Want to cover agricultural uses of particular means and channels of communicating ?  A few examples: social media, websites, multimedia reporting, photography or videography, event planning and management, rural broadcasting, telecenters, field demonstrations, farm journals, extension communications.
  • Want to help plan and prepare copy for ACDC News?
  • Want to help expand and strengthen the Oral History collection, featuring the lives, experiences and perspectives of agricultural journalists and communicators throughout the world?
  • Want to help collect other information of historical interest in agricultural journalism and communications?
  • Do you have other ideas about how you might join with us in this mission?

If so, contact us and we will explore possibilities.

Q: Can I partner with the ACDC for my special project?

A: The ACDC wants to work with you! If you are an individual or a representative of an organization interested in pursuing a project related to agricultural communications, the ACDC may be interested in collaborating with you. For more information please see our Explore Special Projects page, or contact us directly.