United States Agricultural Information Network

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The United States Agricultural Information Network (USAIN), created in 1988, provides a forum for issues in agricultural information, provides a leadership role in the formation of national information policy for agriculture, and advises the National Agricultural Library.[1][2]


The original network was based on a recommendation from the 1982 Interagency Panel of the National Agricultural Library (NAL).[3] It consisted of a network of public and private agricultural libraries and information centers coordinated by the NAL. Originally, the Executive Council was composed of representatives from land grant and other institutions, and the director of NAL, in an ex-officio capacity. By 1995, the Executive Committee moved from an organization-based network to an individual-based organization, transferring the responsibility for the operations to individuals. At the 1995 USAIN Conference held in Lexington, Kentucky, a slate of grassroots-working agricultural information professionals emerged as the new Executive Council.[4]



USAIN holds biennial conferences on current themes in agricultural information. This includes collection management and preservation, data management and scholarly communication, curriculum and instruction, outreach and marketing, and national information policy.

  • 1990 – University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Inaugural meeting
  • 1991 – University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota; Electronic Information in the Agricultural Sciences
  • 1993 – Auburn University, Auburn Alabama; Rural Information at the Crossroads: Issues and Opportunities
  • 1995 – University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky; Cultivating New Ground in Electronic Information: Use of the Information Highway to Support Agriculture.
  • 1997 – University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona, joint conference with the International Association of Agricultural Information Specialists(IAALD); The Information Frontier: Linking People and Resources in a Changing World
  • 1999 – Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas, From Production to Consumption: Agricultural Information for All
  • 2001 – North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina; Extending Our Reach: Redefining and Promoting Agricultural Information Through Partnerships
  • 2003 – University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Champaign, Illinois; Agricultural Information for the New Millennium: New Crops, Biotechnology, and Saving the Past
  • 2005 – University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky, joint conference with the International Association of Agricultural Information Specialists(IAALD)World Congress; The Globalization of Information: Agriculture at the Crossroads
  • 2006 – Cornell University, Ithaca, New York; Delivering Information for the New Sciences
  • 2008 – Ohio State University, Wooster, Ohio; Tradition in Transition: Information Fueling the Future of Agbiosciences
  • 2010 – Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana; Agriculture Without Borders: Creating Knowledge and Partnerships Across Disciplines and Across the World
  • 2012 – University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota; Soil, Water, Food and Energy: Agriculture in an Era of Global Climate Change
  • 2014 – University of Vermont, Burlington, Vermont; Sustainable Agriculture: Stewardship of our Information Ecosystem
  • 2016 – University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida; Interdisciplinary Agriculture: Meeting Tomorrow's Global Challenges

National Preservation Program[edit]

USAIN’s preservation plan for agricultural literature, one of the first discipline-based plans, obtained several rounds of funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities and resulted in 29 state projects,[5][6][7][8]

USAIN recently partnered with Agriculture Network Information Center (AgNIC)[9] and the Center for Research Libraries on Project Ceres, which awards funding for “small projects that preserve print materials essential to the study of the history and economics of agriculture and make those materials accessible through digitization.”[10]



  • Service to the Profession Award for USAIN members who have demonstrated leadership in advancing agricultural information, and established new directions or visions for the field.
  • Special Achievement Award for members of USAIN who have provided outstanding service or support to USAIN, outside the sphere of the Executive Committee. It is awarded on an irregular basis.
  • Honorary Memberships, given to individuals who are not members of USAIN, but who have been an outstanding individual in the field of agricultural information or have provided outstanding service and support to the Network.
  • Conference Scholarships, are awarded after a nomination/application process, usually to two New Professionals and one Graduate Student, dependent on the submissions received.


  1. ^ Hutchinson, B. S. and Paris-Greider, A. Eds.(2002). Using the agricultural, environmental, and food literature. New York: Marcel Dekker. p.288. (Books in library and information science: 61)
  2. ^ Miller, W. and Pellen, R. M. Eds. Evolving Internet Reference Resources. Binghamton, NY: The Haworth Information Press. 2006.
  3. ^ National Agricultural Library Assessment Report. http://www.nal.usda.gov/assessment/AC.html Archived 2014-03-25 at the Wayback Machine.
  4. ^ Thomas, S.E.(1989). United States Agricultural Information Network: genesis of a cooperative organization. Special Libraries, 80, 113-117.
  5. ^ UK Libraries garners national funding to preserve state’s literature on agriculture and rural life.(2006) Southeastern Librarian; Winter 2006/2007, 54(4) p.16
  6. ^ Paster, A. & Paulson, J.(2013). Curating Collective Collections -- Agriculture and Rural Life: A Discipline or Domine-Based Approach to Preservation and Access. Against the Grain, 25(2), 79-81
  7. ^ Foster, C. D. (2001). Fertile fields: The United States agricultural information network preservation project in Alabama. Alabama Review; APR.(54)
  8. ^ Demas, S. (1997) USAIN National Preservation Program for Agricultural Literature. Quarterly bulletin of the International Association of Agricultural Information Specialists = Bulletin trimestriel de l'Association internationale des specialistes de l'information agricole. 42(2) pp. 71–72
  9. ^ National Research Council (U.S.) Committee for a future strategy for transportation information management/ Transportation Research Board of the National Academies. Transportation Knowledge Networks: a management strategy for the 21st century. P. 41-42. (Special report; 284)
  10. ^ Center for Research Libraries. Global resources agriculture partnership: project CERES. Chicago: Center for Research Libraries. [1]

External links[edit]