On behalf of the United States Agriculture Information Network (USAIN), Cornell University, in cooperation with eight other land-grant university libraries, seeks $978,356 in support from the National Endowment for the Humanities for Phase III of a project to preserve the most significant published materials on the history of state and local agriculture and rural life. The project utilizes the model developed for the National Preservation Program for Agricultural Literature and implemented for New York State by Cornell University’s Mann Library, a leader in the preservation of agricultural literature; and refined in Phases I and II of this project. The plan for administration, coordination, and management is based on established models for cooperative preservation projects used by the Committee on Institutional Cooperation and the Research Libraries Group Great Collection projects. In Phase III of the National Preservation Program for Agricultural Literature, approximately 2,679 titles in 8,509 volumes published between 1820 and 1945 will be preserved from Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, New Mexico, and North Dakota. In addition, the agricultural literature from Michigan and North Carolina will be reviewed and ranked for filming of the most important materials in a later phase of the project.
The National Preservation Program for Agricultural Literature was developed by USAIN and the National Agriculture Library in 1993. This national disciplinary preservation plan for agriculture calls for each state in the U .S. to take responsibility for preservation of its own state and local level literature. The work of the project results in the systematic identification of the universe of state and local level published literature in each participating state, not just the titles held in each of the participating libraries. In each state a panel of scholars and librarians evaluates and ranks the resulting lists in terms of the importance of individual titles for research in social, cultural, and economic history. Each state then microfilms those brittle titles judged by the panel to be most important for current and future humanities research.
Funding is requested to preserve the top 25% of titles judged important for humanities research. This 25%, in combination with the 10 – 20% of the relevant literature typically already filmed in most states, will result in preservation of approximately 35-45% of the relevant historical record in each state.