AgNIC’s 'Born Digital/Reborn Digital' Repository Initiatives


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Presentation by Barbara Hutchinson to WUR/IAALD Meeting: Making Agricultural Information Available and Accessible, Wageningen, 13 November 2008.

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  • I want to introduce you to my two co-authors. Linda Eels if the Head of the Forestry, Entomology, and Wildlife libraries at the University of Minnesota. Her 2005-06 sabbatical project led to the AgNIC born digital initiative that I will be talking about today and she co-chairs that project committee with me. Rob McGeachin of TAMU is an Associate Professor and Agriculture and Life Sciences Librarian. He is a previous Chair of the AgNIC Executive Board and is now Chairing the Reborn Digital project committee. The focus of our presentation is to introduce these new initiatives that are under the umbrella of the Agriculture Network Information Center (AgNIC). Their primary purpose is to ensure permanent, long-term access to U.S. LGU publications emanating from Cooperative Extension and AES units.
  • AgNIC’s 'Born Digital/Reborn Digital' Repository Initiatives

    1. 1. AgNIC’s "Born Digital/Reborn Digital" Repository Initiatives Barbara Hutchinson (University of Arizona) Linda Eells (University of Minnesota) Rob McGeachin (Texas A&M University) “ Making Agricultural Information Available and Accessible” Wageningen, 13 November 2008
    2. 2. Overview of Presentation <ul><li>The AgNIC Initiative: status and challenges </li></ul><ul><li>“ born and reborn” digital definitions </li></ul><ul><li>Reborn repositories: example from Texas </li></ul><ul><li>Born digital repositories: a gleam in the eye…and what about the Internet Archive, etc? </li></ul><ul><li>Update on AgNIC Born Digital/Reborn Digital committee activities </li></ul>
    3. 3. <ul><li>The vision since 1995: “to be a premier electronic resource for evaluated, reliable agricultural information” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Collaboration (NAL, Land-Grant University libraries, and others) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Formalized cooperative governance structure </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Technology (distributed web-based information portal) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Content (centers of excellence approach) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Online Reference (linking people directly to subject experts) </li></ul></ul>
    4. 4. <ul><li>The Evolution of AgNIC </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A Growing Voluntary Partnership </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>More than 60 member organizations </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>International participation </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>SIDALC (Agricultural Information and Documentation System for America), the Canadian Agriculture Library, and the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Current Services </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Resource database </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Calendar of events </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>News items </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>AgOAI </li></ul></ul></ul>
    5. 5. <ul><li>AgNIC’s Challenge: </li></ul>Lack of Funding & High Level Support If you build it… They may NOT come!
    6. 6. The Changing Ag Info Stage in the U.S. <ul><li>New eXtension Initiative </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ The most reliable information you'll find on the Internet brought to you by the nation's largest and oldest network of universities (the LGUs)” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>eXtension Services </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Resource pages </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>(family, farm, youth, etc.) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>News items/feeds </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Calendar of events </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ask an Expert/FAQs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Global Search </li></ul></ul>
    7. 7. <ul><li>eXtension’s Advantage </li></ul>Funding & High Level Support <ul><li>focus on strategic business plan at first </li></ul><ul><li>% state Cooperative Extension funds </li></ul><ul><li>74 land-grant university signed partners </li></ul><ul><li>commercial sponsors </li></ul><ul><li>recently created eXtension Foundation </li></ul>
    8. 8. AgNIC Strategic Planning for 2010 <ul><li>Visioning a slightly different future: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>By 2010, AgNIC will be a leader in providing access to, and serves as a trusted steward for the world’s largest collection of quality digital information in the areas of food, agriculture, natural resources, and related sciences” </li></ul></ul>
    9. 9. AgNIC Strategic Planning for 2010 <ul><li>A Refined Mission: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>AgNIC facilitates and participates in partnerships and cooperation among institutions and organizations worldwide that are committed to the identification, delivery, and preservation of reliable, freely-available, evaluated, digital content and quality services for agriculture, food, and natural resources information. </li></ul></ul>
    10. 10. AgNIC Strategic Planning for 2010 <ul><li>New Goals and Objectives </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Improve Content and Services/Increase Funding </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Expand e-content </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Reborn digital </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Born digital </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Further develop AgOAI </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Pursue grants to support new projects </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Seek partnerships with other agencies and organizations </li></ul></ul></ul>
    11. 11. Born and Reborn Digital Defined <ul><li>Born-digital - adj . Relating to a document that was created and exists only in a digital format. (Word Spy, August 2008) </li></ul><ul><li>Reborn-digital – “content that was first incarnated in physical, typically print, format and has been converted to digital format via a scanning (often with OCR software) process. (Linda Eells 2008) </li></ul>
    12. 12. Historical (Reborn) content <ul><li>National Preservation Program for Agricultural Literature </li></ul><ul><li>A National Endowment for the Humanities supported project of USAIN (United States Agriculture Information Network.) </li></ul><ul><li>Preserve and provide access to agricultural literature published prior to 1950 </li></ul><ul><li>Twenty-seven states in first five phases </li></ul><ul><li>MN – 350 titles, ~3,000 volumes (example) </li></ul>NAL/land-grant universities Microfilming Project Early 1980s - microfilmed older Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station, Agricultural Extension Service , and some academic department publications, including both monographs and serials (example) Cornell >1,900 books 6 journals >850,000 pages
    13. 13. Institutional Repositories – combining historical and current digital resources Facilitating scholarly communication & open access
    14. 14. Texas Agricultural Experiment Station Bulletin – AgNIC Cooperative Agreement
    15. 15. Reborn Digital Project Committee <ul><li>Planning and Next Steps </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Establish scanning procedures for preservation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Assist in planning for re-born digital projects </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Help lobby for creation institutional repositories </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ultimate Goal: Central search to harvest metadata from all ag info repositories </li></ul></ul>Ag OAI
    16. 16. The Problem: Long-term Access to Born Digital Resources = LINK ROT <ul><li>The percentage of inactive Internet references increased from 3.8% at 3 months to 13% at 27 months after publication </li></ul><ul><li>Inactive Internet references </li></ul><ul><li>.com addresses - 46% lost after 27 months </li></ul><ul><li>.edu (30%) </li></ul><ul><li>other (20%) </li></ul><ul><li>.gov (10%) </li></ul><ul><li>.org (5%) </li></ul><ul><li>-Dellavalle 2003 </li></ul><ul><li>46% of all citations to Web-located sources could not be accessed </li></ul><ul><li>HTTP 404 (Page not found) message (61.5%) being the greatest cause of </li></ul><ul><li>missing citations. </li></ul><ul><li>Collectively, the missing citations accounted for 22.0% of all citations </li></ul><ul><li>-Sellitto 2005 </li></ul>
    17. 18. Born-Digital Project Committee Mission A group of land-grant institutions, in partnership with AgNIC, ADEC, USAIN, NAL, and others , and with strong (and critical) support from institutional Colleges of Agriculture and/or Natural Resources and Cooperative Extension Service units, propose to collaboratively create policies, determine appropriate standards, and develop the technical infrastructure for a born digital repository , and subsequently reborn digital, of agricultural resources that may be readily scaled to involve other national and eventually international partners.
    18. 19. Key Concepts <ul><li>Phased approach </li></ul><ul><li>Scalable </li></ul><ul><li>Compliant with national/international standards </li></ul><ul><li>Persistent long-term access </li></ul><ul><li>Secure </li></ul><ul><li>Openly accessible </li></ul><ul><li>Collaborative content development </li></ul><ul><li>Sustainable deposition/description </li></ul>
    19. 20. Key Players <ul><li>Steering Committee - Institutional Members </li></ul><ul><li>Colorado State University </li></ul><ul><li>Cornell University </li></ul><ul><li>Michigan State University </li></ul><ul><li>Ohio State University </li></ul><ul><li>Purdue University </li></ul><ul><li>Texas A&M </li></ul><ul><li>University of Arizona </li></ul><ul><li>University of Florida </li></ul><ul><li>University of Illinois - UIUC </li></ul><ul><li>University of Minnesota (Lead, Phase I) </li></ul><ul><li>Project Liaisons to External Groups </li></ul><ul><li>ADEC (Janet Poley) </li></ul><ul><li>AgNIC (Cindy Straus) </li></ul><ul><li>IAALD (Barb Hutchinson) </li></ul><ul><li>NAL (Melanie Gardner) </li></ul><ul><li>USAIN (Nan Hyland) </li></ul><ul><li>Others: California Digital Library ? Internet Archive? </li></ul><ul><li>Advisory Group (tbd) </li></ul><ul><li>international </li></ul><ul><li>tribal/1890 LGUs </li></ul><ul><li>eXtension </li></ul><ul><li>library deans </li></ul><ul><li>NASULGC </li></ul><ul><li>Others? </li></ul>
    20. 21. Task Forces: Phase I <ul><li>Pilot Institution Selection </li></ul><ul><li>Establish criteria (e.g. functioning IR, strong formal Extension & Libraries commitment), and identify Phase I pilot project institutions; policy & standards assessment. </li></ul><ul><li>Grant Funding - source assessment and identification </li></ul><ul><li>Identify possible funding agencies, map their goals/mission to the mission of this project, and pursue contacts.  </li></ul><ul><li>Planning Grant Writing /Policy Development </li></ul><ul><li>Draft planning grant and guide submission of proposal. Establish collection development policies and copyright policies and permissions, and develop work flow templates, etc. to be defined in planning grant.  </li></ul><ul><li>Infrastructure Advisory Group </li></ul><ul><li>Identify IT contacts at each steering group member’s institution to advise Committee on IT issues. Goal is to ensure agreement on metadata standard(s) and an operating infrastructure compatible with capabilities and existing infrastructure at pilot institutions. </li></ul>
    21. 22. Work in Progress <ul><li>1) Follow-up on Steering Committee Meeting (AgNIC 2008) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Reviewed & finalized Phase I parameters </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Reviewed & finalized Task Force descriptions & goals </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Determined Task Force membership </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Determine Advisory Group membership (tbd) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>2) Task Forces began work – Fall 2008 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Conducting survey of funding options & contacts </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Conducting survey of institutional repository preparedness </li></ul></ul><ul><li>3) Preparation of first grant proposal (planning/pilot) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>UMN submitted preliminary internal UMN proposal for initial funding to establish processes and workflow issues (Oct. ’08) </li></ul></ul>
    22. 23. <ul><li>Engage more members in digitizing projects </li></ul><ul><li>Build on & promote development of institutional repositories </li></ul><ul><li>Gain funding for born-digital pilot and follow-on projects </li></ul><ul><li>Agree to standards and procedures </li></ul><ul><li>Bring B.D./R.D. together into one user-friendly system linked to similar international efforts </li></ul>Challenges for AgNIC Partners The average lifespan of a Web page today is 100 days. This is no way to run a culture .” -Brewster Kahle, Director and Co-Founder , Internet Archive
    23. 24. Cornell Historical Literature for Agriculture, available at http:// . (18 April 2008). Dellavalle, Robert P., 2003. Going, Going, Gone: Lost Internet References , Science 302 (5646): 787. Eells L. 2007. Born-Digital Agricultural Resources: Archives and Issues. Quarterly Bulletin of IAALD, 52(3/4). Gwinn, Nancy, 1993. A National Preservation Program for Agricultural Literature , U.S. Agricultural Information Network. Heatley R. 2007. Plan to Develop a Digital Information Infrastructure to Manage Land Grant Information. Available at (5 February 2008). Sellitto, Carmine. 2005. The impact of impermanent Web-located citations: A study of 123 scholarly conference publications, Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology 56(7):695-703. Unsworth, John and Pauline Yu. 2003, Not-so-Modest Proposals: What do we want our system of scholarly communication to look like in 2010? CIC Summit on Scholarly Communication, Chicago, December 2, 2003. Available at (18 April 2008). USAIN Task Force. 2008. Making the Case for a Next-Generation Digital Information System to Ensure America’s Leadership in Agricultural Sciences in the 21st Century. Available at http:// (1 May 2008). Weiss, Rick. 2003. Electronic Archivists Are Playing Catch-Up in Trying to Keep Documents From Landing in History's Dustbin , Washington Post, November 24, 2003, A08. Selected References