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The Essential Electronic Agricultural Library
Focus Agricultural Education
Affiliations Mann Library, Cornell University

TEEAL is The Essential Electronic Agricultural Library. Launched in 1999, the TEEAL collection is a searchable, offline, digital library which contains mainly agriculturally focused reference journals, as well as coverage in related subject areas. The collection is updated annually, though the base set is currently provided to new subscribers via a 1TB hard drive by Cornell University’s Mann Library. With the release of the 2011 Update of TEEAL, the non-profit digital library now contains more than 275 prestigious full-text journals from leading publishers. TEEAL is a project of Cornell University's Albert R. Mann Library in cooperation with over 80 major scientific publishers, societies and index providers. Initial financial support was provided by the Rockefeller Foundation, while the project is currently funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Funding of TEEAL sets is also made available within limited and specific time frames to those within ACP-eligible countries by the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation ACP-EU (CTA).


The idea for TEEAL arose in the 1980s, and was created by Wallace Olsen, former Senior Research Associate, and Jan Olsen, former Director, of Mann Library. During travels to developing countries, the Olsens saw underfunded and out-of-date journal collections. TEEAL was born in order to effect long-term improvements in food security and agricultural development by giving scientists better access to current research.[1]

TEEAL was initially formed as a database of citations, linking to articles stored on hundreds of CD-ROMs. In 1999, the TEEAL Project sold its first “Library in a Box” — 130 journals with 600,000 pages of articles, stored on 100 compact discs — to the University of Zimbabwe.

When local area networks became more common in institutions and libraries in the developing world, TEEAL (formerly LanTEEAL), the network-based variant of TEEAL, was developed and made available subscribers. The institutions which previously subscribed to the CD-ROM version of TEEAL, which is no longer updated or supported, are communicated with accordingly and urged to update to the newest available hardware for the collection (given significant purchase discounts to aid in processing).

Updates are made to the TEEAL collection on an annual basis - therefore ensuring that the content being made available becomes increasingly thorough and current. The next TEEAL update, which is expected to be released in March 2014, will increase the total number of journals in the collection by another 50 (or more) new journal titles. Such an increase will be the largest number of journals that TEEAL has ever included in a single yearly update.

TEEAL Content[edit]

With over 275 journals from over 80 publishers, TEEAL contains articles on many subjects related to the agricultural sciences, including: agricultural economics, agricultural engineering, agronomy, crop and soil science, entomology, natural resources management, forestry, livestock management, nutrition and food science, plant pathology, rural development, sustainable agriculture, and veterinary medicine. A complete list of journals and publishers can be found on the TEEAL website.

Outreach and Training[edit]

With the assistance of our partner organization, ITOCA (Information Training and Outreach Centre for Africa), the TEEAL Project accounts for significant outreach and training efforts. Initially, a two-person office was opened in Harare, Zimbabwe in 1999 to introduce African institutions to TEEAL, conduct training workshops and help interested institutions in writing grants to purchase TEEAL sets. Since 1999, the TEEAL Africa Office has helped place TEEAL sets in Africa and trained over 800 librarians, information specialists, and researchers. The office has created a network of contacts at libraries and information centers at major agricultural universities and national agricultural research institutes throughout sub-Saharan Africa.[2]

In 2005, the TEEAL Africa Office also began to organize training workshops for HINARI, on behalf of the World Health Organization. To reflect this wider mandate, the TEEAL Africa Office has established itself as ITOCA (or the Information Training and Outreach Centre for Africa) (ITOCA), responsible now more broadly for support in digital information resources for education and research. ITOCA now has a primary office in South Africa, with a branch office in Harare.[3]

2004 User Study[edit]

IN 2004, the TEEAL User Study was conducted by Mann Library, with funding support from the Rockefeller Foundation. It demonstrated quantitatively and qualitatively the value of improving researchers' and students' access to scientific literature. Results of the TEEAL user study indicate that TEEAL is successfully meeting its objectives. The survey data confirm the high value students and researchers place on access to current scientific literature and the positive role of TEEAL in addressing their literature needs. Students, educators, and researchers consider TEEAL to be very useful in their work, enhancing both their productivity and the quality of their work.[4] The graphs linked below represent general satisfaction with TEEAL by users surveyed.


The survey also yielded interesting insights into ongoing challenges that institutions face in making TEEAL widely available to users. 90 percent of users responded that they would use TEEAL more if they had better access. Data from the survey showed that use of TEEAL would increase dramatically if constraints, such as restricted hours of use, not enough computers and printers, and expensive printing charges, were addressed. Most TEEAL sets are housed in a library or information resource center.[5]

The study further confirms that access to the Internet continues to be limited both on university campuses and at research institutes in Africa. Thus, until Internet technology is more widely available and affordable, web-based programs such as HINARI and AGORA need to be complemented with offline, easily accessible systems like TEEAL.


TEEAL is available to public sector and not-for-profit educational and research organizations institutions in 115 of the lowest income countries (as listed in the World Bank's 1998-99 World Development Report) to support agricultural development. The cost of TEEAL is kept relatively low, compared to the cost of individual subscriptions to its journals, as TEEAL functions on a cost-recovery model; therefore, costs associated with annual update subscriptions assist with miscellaneous costs for the production of an annual update. Additionally, if subscribed to individually, the cost of the journals in TEEAL would be worth over $1 million US dollars.[6]

Related initiatives[edit]


External links[edit]