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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

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ARS Annual Performance Report for FY 2005
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1 - Introduction
2 - Table of Contents
3 - Goals 1 and 2
4 - Goal 3
5 - Goal 4
6 - Goal 5
7 - Goal 6
Goal 6

GOAL 6:  MANAGEMENT INITIATIVE 0.1:  ENSURING THE QUALITY, RELEVANCE, AND PERFORMANCE OF ARS RESEARCH (COVERS ALL RESEARCH OBJECTIVES)

 

OBJECTIVE 6.0:  Provide Mechanisms To Ensure the Relevance, Quality, and Performance of the ARS Research Program.

 

Performance Measure 6.0.1:  Relevance—ARS’ basic, applied, and developmental research programs are well conceived, have specific programmatic goals, and address high priority national needs.

 

Indicators:

 

During FY 2005, ARS will track and report the number of National Program Workshops, meetings, other workshops, and conferences that were designed, in whole or in part, to review the research focus of each National Program or to establish the research focus for the next 5-year program cycle.

 

ACCOMPLISHMENTS:  ARS conducted or participated in eighteen National Program Workshops or other major meetings, workshops, or conferences that helped to confirm, refine, or direct the research focus of a specific National Program or Programs.

 

IMPACT/OUTCOME:  ARS’ continuing interaction with its customers, stakeholders, and partners ensures the relevancy of the Agency’s research in addressing the needs of American agriculture.  Meetings at the beginning and during the 5-year program cycle either confirm the direction of the research or allow the Agency to refine the direction.  National Program Workshops with customers, stakeholders, and partners, at the beginning of the 5-year cycle, help ARS establish that National Program’s research agenda.  These processes help enable ARS to fulfill its mission statement to:  “conduct research to develop and transfer solutions to agricultural problems of high national priority and provide information access and dissemination to ensure high quality, safe food, and other agricultural products, assess the nutritional needs of Americans, sustain a competitive agricultural economy, enhance the natural resource base and the environment, and provide economic opportunities for rural citizens, communities, and society as a whole.”

 

Performance Measure 6.0.2:  Quality—ARS research projects are reviewed by National Program external peer review panels at the beginning of the 5-year program cycle.

 

Indicators:

 

During FY 2005, ARS will report:  summary information on the number and percentage of projects reviewed for prospective quality, and the number in each Office of Scientific Quality Review (OSQR) category; summary data from the Research Position Evaluation System (RPES) peer reviews of Agency scientists; and the number of on-site expert reviews (location reviews) conducted to ensure the ongoing quality and performance of the research program. 

 

ACCOMPLISHMENTS:  OSQR conducted prospective peer reviews on 93 Project Plans with the following results:

 

No Revision                       8        8.60%

Minor Revision                 24       25.81%

Moderate Revision           37       39.78% 

Subtotal              69       74.19%

 

Major Revision                 18       19.35%

Not Feasible                     6        6.45%

Subtotal              24       25.80%

 

IMPACT/OUTCOME:  ARS’ OSQR external independent peer review process has strengthened the overall ARS research program.  ARS, as part of its PART analysis, has set a goal of gradually increasing the number of projects that receive a rating of No Revision, Minor Revision, or Moderate Revision to 80 percent by 2010 and is taking steps to promote improved scores in future reviews.

 

ACCOMPLISHMENTS:  RPES peer panels reviewed 392 ARS scientists with the following results:  181 (46.2 percent) were upgraded, 203 (51.8 percent) remained in grade or were referred to the Supergrade Panel, 3 (0.8 percent) had insufficient factual basis, and 5 (1.3 percent) had grade/category problems.

 

IMPACT/OUTCOME:  RPES reviews of Agency scientists on a 3-5 year cycle contributes to maintaining a high quality, high performing, productive scientific work force.

 

ACCOMPLISHMENTS:  ARS conducted twenty-eight location reviews.

 

IMPACT/OUTCOME:  The use of location reviews has evolved since the development of the National Program structure, National Program Workshops, OSQR, and other mechanisms for establishing the direction, relevancy, quality, and performance of ARS’ research program.  Location reviews are now largely used to selectively address issues at a specific location.  Use of location reviews helps ensure the quality and performance of ARS research.

 

Performance Measure 6.0.3:  Performance—ARS will monitor and measure the performance of each research unit and National Program.

 

Indicators:

 

During FY 2005, ARS will report summary information that measures specific activities that indicate, to some extent, how well the overall ARS research program is performing.  These activities include the number of papers published, number of CRADAs executed, number of patents issued, number of licenses granted, and the number of new plant varieties and breeding lines released.  Beginning in FY 2004, ARS asked each research leader to assess his/her project’s progress against the milestones in their Project Plan, and indicate whether the each milestone was fully met, substantially met, or not met.  An explanation of why a milestone was not met was also requested.

 

ACCOMPLISHMENTS:  ARS established 55 new CRADAs, received 27 new patents, and granted 33 new licenses.

 

IMPACT/OUTCOME:  These formal mechanisms enable ARS to more promptly and more effectively transfer new or improved research derived technologies to entities that can use the information to produce new or improved goods and services that benefit American agriculture and the economy.

 

ACCOMPLISHMENTS:  ARS scientists published 3,980 peer reviewed journal articles and book chapters.

 

IMPACT/OUTCOME:  Scientific publications are one of the principal mechanisms for transferring research products/findings to potential users of the information.  This is especially true of research knowledge generated by basic or fundamental research where the principal customers are other scientists who carry the work forward through applied and developmental research.

 

ACCOMPLISHMENTS:  ARS released 65 new plant varieties and breeding lines.

 

IMPACT/OUTCOME:  ARS develops and releases new and improved plant varieties and breeding lines that have a wide range of desirable characteristics, such as greater productivity, resistance to diseases and/or pests, or greater tolerance to stresses, such as drought, salinity, etc.  These releases enable public and private sector scientists and breeders to develop new plants and market them to producers.

 

ACCOMPLISHMENTS:  ARS identified a total of 7,498 milestones across its 1,000+ research projects.  Of these, 3,554 milestones were fully met (47 percent) and 2,971 were substantially met (40 percent) for a total of 6,525 (87 percent) being fully or substantially met.  Nine hundred and seventy-three milestones were not met (13 percent).  The principle reasons why a milestone was not met were: a vacancy in the lead scientist position (through retirement, death, or delays in recruitment), redirection of the work into areas of higher national priority, failure of a collaborator to provide material in a timely manner, a research methodology did not perform as expected, poor/undesirable weather conditions prevented the research from moving forward, and changes in experimental design.

 

IMPACT/OUTCOME:  The tracking of project milestones, first developed for the PART analysis, has become a useful tool for measuring performance at the project level.  The Agency is continuing to refine this indicator, for developing its milestones and managing its research program.

 

 

 

MANAGEMENT INITIATIVE 1:  PROVIDE AGRICULTURAL LIBRARY AND INFORMATION SERVICES TO USDA AND THE NATION VIA THE NATIONAL AGRICULTURAL LIBRARY

 

Analysis of Results:  Under Goal 6, Management Initiative 1, 3 Indicators (in Italics) are aligned under 3 Performance Measures.  While it is not possible to report all accomplishments numerically, the progress projected in these Indicators was completed or substantially completed during FY 2005.  Forty-one significant accomplishments are reported below.

 

OBJECTIVE 6.1:  Provide Rapid, Comprehensive, and Long-Term Access to the Full Range of Agricultural Information Resources Through a Variety of National Agricultural Library (NAL) Delivery Systems, with Particular Emphasis on Digital Technologies.

 

Performance Measure 6.1.1:  Develop and deliver content for the NAL National Digital Library for Agriculture (NDLA).

 

Indicators:

 

During FY 2005, NAL will continue to expand and improve services based on customer usage and satisfaction data.

 

ACCOMPLISHMENTS:  The total volume of NAL direct customer service transactions increased to about 20 percent, more than 80 million transactions.

 

IMPACT/OUTCOME:  NAL has continued to increase services broadening and increasing its customer base, with an emphasis on digital information products and services.

 

ACCOMPLISHMENTS:  The Agriculture Network Information Center (AgNIC) Alliance - www.agnic.org - welcomed six new member institutions, for a total of 56 members, and celebrated its 10th anniversary.  Nine AgNIC digital content building projects were completed and 14 new projects were begun, funded by the AgNIC specific cooperative agreements program.  An AgNIC Consultative Group, composed of high level, international specialists, began to discuss AgNIC strategic goals for the next five years.  Two 1890 Land Grant universities were represented at the AgNIC annual meeting resulting in ongoing work with these institutions to establish a cooperative subject web site on “goats”.

 

IMPACT/OUTCOME:  More important agriculture information has become available on the Web as a result of collaborations among NAL and AgNIC partners.

 

ACCOMPLISHMENTS:  NAL launched a redesigned Web site – www.nal.usda.gov – that conforms to new USDA style guidelines.  NAL met the first implementation deadline by establishing a library-wide project management structure to provide leadership and facilitate communications.  An Oversight Committee was formed along with six teams:  External Relations and Requirements; Existing Web Pages; Landing and Sub-landing Pages; IT Assistance; NAL-Created Web Content Archiving; and the Web Site Taxonomy and Meta data.

 

IMPACT/OUTCOME:  Customers now can find NAL’s Web-based information more easily and quickly.  The redesigned Web site improves services for NAL customers with organization of the site by subject and enhanced search functionality that permits searching of all the databases and Web pages of the site from a single search box.  The redesigned Web site serves as a gateway connecting users swiftly with the services of NAL and with the billions of pages of agricultural information within NAL collections and information resources. 

 

ACCOMPLISHMENTS:  NAL continued to refine and expand access to reports, journals, and databases by USDA employees worldwide through the USDA Digital Desktop Library (DigiTop) service.  Usage continued to grow, at an annual rate of over 12 percent.  NAL’s Current Awareness Literature Service (CALS) was redesigned and integrated into DigiTop.  The DigiTop systems infrastructure was strengthened and upgraded through the acquisition of software that improved management of digital journals and provides links to NAL’s document delivery service.

 

IMPACT/OUTCOME:  More online content was made available to USDA employees.  Integration of CALS into DigiTop increases efficiency of USDA customer access to digital services.  Improved systems infrastructure increases reliability and saves customer time, by providing seamless delivery of documents from one integrated source rather than the previous two distinct systems.

 

ACCOMPLISHMENTS:  An NAL-wide team created a Web-based guide to critical information about soybean rust.  The guide includes an extensive bibliography of relevant research; links to important information; and expert searches of AGRICOLA, USDA,and ARS Web sites, and the Web.

 

IMPACT/OUTCOME:  The Web-based guide supports the USDA goal of providing stakeholders with authoritative, timely, and accurate information for addressing the potential threat posed by soybean rust to the Nation’s agricultural community.  USDA features the guide on the USDA Soybean Rust Information Site.

 

ACCOMPLISHMENTS:  NAL has been developing a Web-based survey intended to collect data about the information needs of its customers and non-customers.  This information will guide NAL planning in the future.  The survey document package has cleared USDA review and is currently under review by OMB.

 

IMPACT/OUTCOME:  The data from the survey, along with results from the ACSI (American Customer Satisfaction Index) survey that is integrated with the NAL Web site, will enable NAL management to align NAL operations so it is in alignment with customer needs.

 

ACCOMPLISHMENTS:  The NAL staff developed a management statistics database that enables analysis of cost and usage statistics pertaining to electronic reference sources, full text and non-full text journals, Web sites and catalogs, books, and digitized materials in support of the Association of Research Libraries’ (ARL) E-metrics project.  The database was made available to other ARL member libraries.

 

IMPACT/OUTCOME:  By developing this data resource, NAL simplified data collection and provided a mechanism for accessing and analyzing key statistical measures on demand that could also be useful for other major research libraries.  With this new resource, NAL management is equipped to improve services and identify and act upon trends.

 

ACCOMPLISHMENTS:  A draft “Internal Guidance for Selecting and Managing Web Site Links” was produced for future implementation.

 

IMPACT/OUTCOME:  The draft internal Web linking guide will ensure that NAL complies with standards required by OMB and USDA. 

 

ACCOMPLISHMENTS:  PROCINORTE, sponsored by the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), is a formal mechanism that facilitates cooperative actions of common interest to the U.S, Canada, and Mexico.  The NAL staff led the PROCINORTE task force on Agricultural Library and Information Services.  NAL hosted a meeting of PROCINORTE representatives in 2005.   

 

IMPACT/OUTCOME:  The PROCINORTE task force continues to develop collaborate activities that support the region’s agricultural sector by improving access to key information. 

 

ACCOMPLISHMENTS:  In collaboration with NCLIS (the National Commission on Library and Information Science), NAL hosted a reception for the Chief Officers of State Library Agencies (COSLA) to recognize contributions by public libraries to improving the health of citizens in the communities they serve.  NAL featured Nutrition.gov and NAL nutrition-related information services.  Other Federal agencies and information providers also exhibited during the reception.

 

IMPACT/OUTCOME:  The program and reception afforded NAL an opportunity to showcase its community and health related initiatives to a key stakeholder group. 

 

ACCOMPLISHMENTS:  AFSIC published a third edition of the popular electronic publication: “Organic Agricultural Products: Marketing and Trade Resources,” which is a comprehensive guide to more than 1,000 Web-based information resources on all aspects of organic markets, marketing, and trade.  The publication is available in PDF and HTML on a free CD or at the AFSIC Web site: http://www.nal.usda.gov/afsic.

 

IMPACT/OUTCOME:  This document continues to provide both organic farmers and those considering a transition to organic production a wealth of information concerning one of the most critical parts of agriculture: selling what has been grown.

 

ACCOMPLISHMENTS:  NAL staff conducted ten training workshops concerning information searches about alternatives to the use of animals in research and exhibited at ten professional meetings.  AWIC produced several new Web-based publications, and seven CD information products on animal diseases; farm and lab animal care and welfare; searching for information about alternatives to animal use; care of pandas; and other key topics for those species regulated under the Animal Welfare Act.

 

IMPACT/OUTCOME:  More researchers were trained about how to adhere to the requirements concerning searching for information about alternatives to the use of animals in research in accordance with the Animal Welfare Act.

 

ACCOMPLISHMENTS:  Food and Nutrition Information Center (FNIC).  NAL staff supporting the Food Stamp Nutrition Connection (FSNC) program launched the Recipe Finder database - http://foodstamp.nal.usda.gov/recipes.php - for use by nutrition educators working with the Food Stamp Program eligible population.  Cost information is supplied for all recipes with data provided by the USDA Economic Research Service (ERS), which purchased the data from AC Nielsen.  Most recipes in the database were submitted by nutrition educators in the Food Stamp Program.

 

IMPACT/OUTCOME:  The Recipe Database was launched the last week in September 2005.  The FSNC Web site hits for the following month increased significantly from the previous month; September 2005 hits were 66,052 and October hits were 83,336, a 26 percent increase in just a month and a 48 percent increase over the same month in FY 2004.  There are few, if any, other recipe databases available that provide cost data to users; this unique feature has made the Recipe Finder database a popular new too.  The FSNC has received considerable favorable feedback from customers, along with additional recipe submissions and ratings.  More members of the Food Stamp Program eligible population were informed about nutritious recipes.

 

ACCOMPLISHMENTS:  The Nutrition.gov Web site (www.nutrition.gov) which is focused on obesity prevention and targeted to consumers was officially launched December 2004.  A briefing for the USDA Secretary was also held in December.  The Nutrition.gov site design and development was accomplished following the USDA Web Style Guide and has been praised as the “poster model” for USDA Web sites to emulate.  The site received cross-agency resource support from USDA and HHS agencies.

 

IMPACT/OUTCOME:  Nutrition.gov provides easy access to the best food and nutrition information from across the federal government.  It serves as a gateway to reliable information on nutrition, healthy eating, physical activity, and food safety for consumers, educators and health professionals.  Nutrition.gov received over 2 million hits in CY 2005.

 

ACCOMPLISHMENTS:  NAL staff collaborated with the University of Mississippi’s National Institute of Food Service Management to develop an online application for generating HACCP forms specific to food service employee needs.  The Food Safety Research Information Office (FSRIO) completed the back-end programming and necessary data modeling to create a new database-driven FSRIO Web site.  More than 1,700 records in its research projects database were analyzed and modified with information that will enable the users to fully utilize the upcoming search interface.

 

IMPACT/OUTCOME:  NAL continued to improve information services to the food safety community by leveraging its resources and expanding collaborations.  As a result, the food service and safety communities of the Nation are better equipped to protect their customers.

 

ACCOMPLISHMENTS:  NAL and the National Invasive Species Council (NISC) staff reached agreement to divide responsibility for Invasivespecies.gov Web site management.  As a result of this agreement, NISC staff is responsible for the administrative and official documentation of NISC, while NAL staff continues to provide a broad range of information about invasive species topics as the official reference gateway for NISC under the new URL: http://invasivespeciesinfo.gov

 

IMPACT/OUTCOME:  Access to the Invasivespeciesinfo.gov Web site continues to increase, with approximately 3.5 million hits, a 46 percent increase over FY 2004.  With its newly delineated responsibilities NAL is establishing a National Invasive Species Information Center.  A wider range of information is available to a growing audience about the threat of invasive species.

 

ACCOMPLISHMENTS:  NAL published a Web database about Federal funding sources for rural areas.  Ten publications were updated for NAL’s Web redesign project.  The Rural Information Center (RIC) staff responded to 148 Congressional requests during FY05 – an all time high.  

 

IMPACT/OUTCOME:  RIC’s information and referral services to local, tribal, State, and Federal government officials; community organizations; rural electric and telephone cooperatives; libraries; businesses; and citizens working continued to help maintain the vitality of America's rural areas.  As one example of RIC services, staff identified a foundation grant that enabled a Maryland public school in a rural county with one of the highest poverty rates in the State to receive $40,000 for an obesity education program.

 

ACCOMPLISHMENTS:  NAL staff completed a 15-year history of the Center’s operations and developed a strategic plan suggesting future program directions and funding options.  NAL’s MTACRADA partner, Artifex Equipment, Inc., completed its Phase I SBIR feasibility study and continues to investigate manufacturing methods for an emerging desiccation and humidification product.  TTIC staff enlisted the assistance of the American Library Association and the University of Maryland to produce a report covering the topic of “new and emerging technologies for disaster management” with an initial focus on water disasters. 

 

IMPACT/OUTCOME:  The emerging desiccation and humidification product utilizing corn and an ARS patent from the 1970s was renamed “Zorbix”.  Additional outcomes of the work with Artifex include: one extended MTACRADA between NAL and Artifex; six Confidentiality Agreements or Material Transfer Agreements between NAL, Artifex, and other libraries, organizations, and companies for discussion, testing or manufacturing purposes; confirmation by ARS chemists that the emerging product leaves no residue on paper; and a patent application, Methods and Devices for Humidity Control of Materials, filed by Artifex and listing a TTIC staff member as a co-inventor.  As a result, Artifex estimates potential sales of $1.8M and libraries and archives will have a new tool for mitigating water damage to paper-based collections.

 

ACCOMPLISHMENTS:  NAL developed an improved public Web interface for the Water Quality Information Center (WQIC) and added additional documents to its online database of water and agriculture information resources.  The Center’s Enviro-News listserv continues to be a significant channel of communication for the water quality community.  WQIC staff was active in the USDA Conservation Effects Assessment Project (CEAP), creating dynamic bibliographies on CEAP-relevant topics and assisting CEAP participants with information access.

 

IMPACT/OUTCOME:  NAL strengthened WQIC technology capabilities to enable improved access to water quality information needed by its users, partners, and stakeholders.

 

ACCOMPLISHMENTS:  NAL Reference and Reader Services and the Information Centers completed participation in a one year pilot of the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Virtual Reference Project.  The twenty-four Federal libraries and information centers that participated provided electronic information services, including live chats.

 

IMPACT/OUTCOME:  Participation in the pilot enabled NAL to test the efficacy of providing virtual references services to its clientele while helping to provide electronic reference services to the estimated 80 percent of DHS staff who lacked access to libraries.  It also gave NAL staff the opportunity to create connections and network with other Federal librarians across numerous agencies.

 

ACCOMPLISHMENTS:  NAL’s WQIC staff developed and implemented a search interface for customers that allows construction of complex search strategies for NAL’s AGRICOLA.  This interface enables construction and repeated use of lengthy and complex searches. 

 

IMPACT/OUTCOME:  BooleanCUBE implementation has resulted in ready access to the results of complex AGRICOLA searches without delivery of large files of result sets or detailed instructional sessions and discussions about how to use NAL’s online catalog system for complex searches.  This work product saves time for staff and customers and supplies precise search results quickly, whether customers have limited or fast Web connectivity.  A wide variety of refreshed custom search results is available to NAL, ARS, and USDA staff, while all NAL customers can use more general BooleanCUBE-based searches from the NAL Web site.

 

ACCOMPLISHMENTS:  Two NAL staff members volunteered for four details of various lengths at USDA’s Office of Communications to write the daily AgNews brief.  Each selected, compiled, and wrote summaries of major news articles pertaining to agriculture and USDA, and ensured that each AgNews brief was fresh and up-to-the-minute, and on the Secretary’s desk by 8:00 a.m. sharp each day.

 

IMPACT/OUTCOME:  AgNews keeps those in decision-making positions informed about key events and stories about agriculture. By participating in creating AgNews, NAL staff demonstrated the skills and value librarians bring to the process of identifying, selecting, and summarizing information.  The temporary assignments also gave NAL staff members exposure to issues of primary concern to the Secretary, USDA administrators and the Office of Communications.

 

ACCOMPLISHMENTS:  NAL hosted the 15th Agricultural Economics Reference Organization (AERO) - http://cherokee.agecon.clemson.edu/aero.htm Conference/Workshop.  AERO membership includes librarians from many land-grant universities, Canadian universities, and other organizations such as the American Farm Bureau, ERS, and the World Bank.  AERO meets periodically to learn about the latest reference tools, databases, and new technologies important to agricultural economics research and education.

 

IMPACT/OUTCOME:  The AERO Conference provided an avenue for NAL to highlight significant developments and trends in the use of digital technology for core constituents affiliated with agriculture-related institutions from across North America.  Hosting the 15th AERO Conference increased the visibility and understanding of NAL’s and USDA’s efforts to move forward using digital technology to enhance the delivery of services and information.  AERO members received a sneak preview of the new design for the NAL Web site, were invited to contribute to the ongoing discussion on the future of AGRICOLA (AGRICOLA Rescoping), were given an overview of the Relais Document Delivery system, and were briefed on the new developments with the Agriculture Network Information Center (AgNIC).  In addition, AERO members attended several presentations on how AMS, FAS, and NASS are making information available via the Web.   

 

ACCOMPLISHMENTS:  The Relais document request and management system, which serves as the document delivery module of the NAL electronic library management system, was launched on 15 April 2005.  NAL staff worked collaboratively with representatives from the Relais and Endeavor corporations to develop this first time interface between the systems of the two companies. 

 

IMPACT/OUTCOME:  NAL will continue to use various methods, as requested by our customers, to deliver documents to them.  As a result of this integrated system implementation, NAL now receives document requests only via the Web.  NAL streamlined document delivery workflow increased management control over the document fulfillment process and saved time for customers requesting documents. 

 

ACCOMPLISHMENTS:  NAL developed a plan to charge ARS customers directly for document delivery services on a fee-for-service basis.  Beginning in FY 2006, this plan was implemented, using CRIS Project Numbers as charge-back identifiers.  

 

IMPACT/OUTCOME:  Since FY 2003, ARS and other USDA agencies have used NAL document delivery services on a partial cost recovery basis.  Beginning October 1, 2005, a charge-back plan was implemented whereby USDA headquarters agencies pay about 40 percent of the cost of providing document delivery services from NAL.  Fees from document delivery service charges, Agency contributions to DigiTop/Digi-CALS and funding for other services to USDA agencies supplement NAL’s appropriated funding and permit the continuation and improvement of key NAL services to USDA.

 

ACCOMPLISHMENTS:  NAL staff visited ARS locations in Pullman, Washington; Corvallis, Oregon; Fort Collins, Colorado; Clay Center, Nebraska; Ames, Iowa; and Peoria, Illinois, to provide an overview of NAL services and products such as DigiTop, DigiTop-CALS, document delivery, reference, AgNIC, and NALT. Over 200 ARS researchers attended the presentations.

 

IMPACT/OUTCOME:  NAL learned that while its ARS customers appreciate NAL services, NAL needs to "push" or provide more information to customers about services on a regular basis and keep them informed of changes as services evolve.

 

ACCOMPLISHMENTS:  A descendant of Charles Valentine Riley donated $2,000 to Special Collections to continue the restoration of several Riley family paintings and the sketchbook.  The family had previously donated the early sketchbook of C.V. Riley to NAL. 

 

IMPACT/OUTCOME:  This donation, supplemented by NAL funds, will complete the conservation treatment of the sketchbook.  Conserving this unique item will allow future scholars to gain insight into the education and life of C.V. Riley.

 

ACCOMPLISHMENTS:  Three new products, two sets of note cards and a perpetual calendar, using images from NAL’s nursery and seed trade catalog collection and the J. Horace McFarland Collections, were produced in collaboration with Galison publishers.

 

IMPACT/OUTCOME:  Partnering with the publishing community allows greatly expanded opportunities to broaden awareness and use of NAL Special Collections.  NAL’s portion of the sales proceeds will continue to fund the conservation treatment of materials in the NAL collection.

 

ACCOMPLISHMENTS:  The NAL Collection includes many thousands of items requiring conservation.  Activities included repair binding of 300 damaged volumes, creating protective boxes for 350 items too fragile to re-bind, and microfilming 50 requested items which are now too fragile to circulate. 

 

IMPACT/OUTCOME:  These minimal activities enabled NAL to rescue and make available a few items in most dire need of reformatting or re-housing; there are thousands more needing such treatment. 

 

ACCOMPLISHMENTS:  The Hunt Institute and NAL have produced an exhibition - “Inspiration and Translation: Botanical and Horticultural Lithographs of Joseph Prestele and Sons” - which draws from their collections and includes items lent by descendants of the Prestele family to feature the important botanical works of Joseph Prestele and his sons.  The exhibition opened at the Hunt Institute on September 8 and includes watercolors, drawings, lithographs, and account books documenting the Presteles’ work for botanists and horticulturalists of the late 1800s.

 

IMPACT/OUTCOME:  A significant group of Prestele manuscript material received conservation treatment for this exhibition.  NAL staff gained considerable experience from working with the Hunt staff and the conservation center.  In the process of producing the exhibit several unique items were discovered and will now be protected.

 

ACCOMPLISHMENTS:  NAL re-opened its newly renovated South Building Reference Center on April 27, 2005. 

 

IMPACT/OUTCOME:  The renovated facility supports the delivery of outreach and training activities focused on raising awareness of NAL’s digital library services among the more than 5,000 Washington-based USDA staff.  Increased use of NAL services is expected within this population.

 

Performance Measure 6.1.2:  Integrate the NAL AGRICOLA database into the NDLA.

 

Indicators:

 

During FY 2005, NAL will continue to increase the amount and types of agricultural information covered by AGRICOLA, particularly online full text publications, reduce the time required for indexing top priority journal articles, and improve ways of finding information in AGRICOLA.

 

ACCOMPLISHMENTS:  NAL Technical Services Division staff monitors USDA and GPO websites to identify new titles that should be added to NAL’s collection, including those available in electronic format. In addition, numerous titles formerly received in print as gifts or on exchange are now available only via the Web.  URLs for these types of publications are continually added to AGRICOLA, ensuring that access is continued and increasing the titles for which full-text is available via AGRICOLA.

 

IMPACT/OUTCOME:  Materials that are shifting to e-only format are routinely identified, captured and updated in the AGRICOLA catalog ensuring continued access to content and increasing the proportion of materials that are available electronically. This will transition more of the NAL collection, as access becomes available, to electronic format and ultimately serve as the backbone for the National Digital Library for Agriculture.

 

ACCOMPLISHMENTS:  NAL catalogers and indexers added 18,560 links to Web-based digital publications into the AGRICOLA database. This represents a 27 percent increase over 2004 levels bringing the total to over 70,500 links.

 

IMPACT/OUTCOME:  AGRICOLA provides full text at the desktop for an additional 18,560 digital publications.

 

ACCOMPLISHMENTS:  NAL has implemented the use of the Voyager indexing module and integrated it with the NAL Thesaurus software.  Enhancements to the indexing module are ongoing and include Web-based indexing input and testing of a machine-aided indexing tool. 

 

IMPACT/OUTCOME:  NAL has streamlined the process of creating index citations through “turbo indexing” that concentrates on the article abstract.  This has improved throughput, and significantly reduced the backlog of unindexed journal articles.

 

ACCOMPLISHMENTS:  In January, NAL published an updated 2005 version of the National Agricultural Library Thesaurus (NALT) which is used for indexing journal articles in AGRICOLA.  AGRICOLA bibliographic records were updated with the new terminology.

 

IMPACT/OUTCOME:  Updating terminology to align the National Agricultural Library Thesaurus with emerging agricultural trends and innovations facilitates search and discovery of relevant information in AGRICOLA and other agricultural databases and indices.  The thesaurus provides the intellectual framework necessary to organize agricultural information for consistent retrieval.

 

ACCOMPLISHMENTS:  The College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR) at Michigan State University continued to operate a duplicate (mirror) Web site for the National Agricultural Library Thesaurus (NALT).

 

IMPACT/OUTCOME:  A duplicate (mirror) Web site ensures the availability of the thesaurus Web pages and search functionality to customers in the case of unforeseen circumstances at either location and distributes system load among and between the two IT systems so that performance and reliability are optimal for customers.

 

Performance Measure 6.1.3:  Ensure long-term access to the resources of the NAL NDLA.

 

Indicators:

 

During FY 2005, NAL will continue to preserve, protect, and secure its national collection of agricultural information.

 

ACCOMPLISHMENTS:  NAL staff collaborated with a Pennsylvania State University Extension 4-H Specialist to review and organize historical 4-H materials, write abstracts, and produce a Web-based finding aid entitled the “Elsie Carper Collection on Extension Service, Home Economics, and 4-H” - http://www.nal.usda.gov/speccoll/findaids/carper/index.html.

 

IMPACT/OUTCOME:  This collection preserves one-of-a-kind items, including first hand recollections of the origin and philosophy of the U.S. Extension Service, and the history of home demonstration work, earliest agents and 4-H clubs.  This work spawned a new AgNIC partnership with Pennsylvania State University.  

 

ACCOMPLISHMENTS:  NAL continued to explore the potential for applying the latest versions of the software for Lots of Copies Keeps Stuff Safe (LOCKSS), a collaborative digital preservation demonstration project led by Stanford University.  NAL also began participation in the LOCKSS program as part of the LOCKSS/DOCS program working collaboratively with the Government Printing Office, Stanford University and other universities in an effort to provide long-term access to government documents.  The project is now focused on integrating the use of LOCKSS into the USDA computer network environment.

 

IMPACT/OUTCOME:  NAL’s participation in the LOCKSS demonstration program is important in exploring options for providing long-term citizens access to digital government information.  This pioneering effort addresses digital preservation issues for long-term storage, authenticity, and access.

 

 

 

MANAGEMENT INITIATIVE 2:  PROVIDE ADEQUATE FEDERAL FACILITIES REQUIRED TO SUPPORT THE RESEARCH MISSION OF ARS

 

Analysis of Results:  Under Goal 6, Management Initiative 2, 1 Indicator (in Italics) is aligned under 1 Performance Measure.  While it is not possible to report all accomplishments numerically, the progress projected in this Indicator was completed or substantially completed during FY 2005.  The accomplishments are reported below.

 

Performance Measure 6.2.1:  Complete priority buildings and facilities projects on schedule and within budget.

 

Indicators:

 

During FY 2005, ARS will continue to modernize and construct new research facilities on a priority basis. 

 

ACCOMPLISHMENTS:  ARS completed the design of research facilities at the following locations:  Albany, California; Aberdeen, Idaho; Ames, Iowa; Beltsville, Maryland; Stoneville, Mississippi; Kearneysville, West Virginia; and Madison, Wisconsin.  ARS also completed construction of research facilities at the following locations:  Ft. Collins, Colorado; Athens, Georgia; Peoria, Illinois; Ames, Iowa; Beltsville, Maryland; Poplarville, Mississippi; Woodward, Oklahoma; and Logan, Utah.

 

IMPACT/OUTCOME:  New or modernized laboratory facilities have been provided to support the mission of the Agency in the areas of nutrition, food safety/quality, animal production and protection, natural resources and sustainable agricultural systems, and crop production and protection.

 

 

 

MANAGEMENT INITIATIVE 3:  ADVISE AND ASSIST THE ARS ADMINISTRATOR ON CIVIL RIGHTS AND EQUAL OPPORTUNITY MATTERS TO PREVENT DISCRIMINATION 

 

Analysis of Results:  Under Goal 6, Management Initiative 3, 3 Indicators (in Italics) are aligned under 2 Performance Measures.  While it is not possible to report all accomplishments numerically, the progress projected in these Indicators was completed or substantially completed during FY 2005.  Five significant accomplishments are reported below.

 

OBJECTIVE 6.3:  ARS is committed to being proactive in the prevention of discrimination by providing, promoting, and maintaining policies and procedures based on EEO laws and regulations for all employees, applicants for employment, and customers. 

 

Performance Measure 6.3.1:  Accountability of being proactive to maintain an environment free from discrimination and harassment.

 

Indicators:

 

During FY 2005, ARS will provide information and recommendations to the Administrator and Area/Staff Directors on being proactive to maintain an environment free from discrimination and harassment.

 

ACCOMPLISHMENTS:  The ARS Civil Rights Staff (CRS) and Recruitment Office provided training and information to the Area Civil Rights Managers (ACRMs) on the MD-715 (Management Directive 715 provides a roadmap for creating effective equal employment opportunity programs for all ARS employees as required by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, and Section 501, the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended) process and recruitment and outreach strategies, how to identify employment barriers that eliminate diverse employment, and develop action plans to remove the barriers.  Training was provided to Area Directors regarding the Notification of Federal Employees Anti-Retaliation Act (NO FEAR Act) [training will be provided to all employees in FY 2006 through the Agriculture Learning Service (AgLearn)].   

 

IMPACT/OUTCOME:  The MD-715 and the NO FEAR Act holds all ARS employees accountable to create and maintain an environment free from discrimination and harassment, where employees,  applicants for employment, and customers have the freedom to compete and participate, to the fullest extent possible, at all levels within ARS. 

 

ACCOMPLISHMENTS:  The Area offices identified barriers that could possibly limit employment opportunities, and also developed an action plan to achieve the goal of removing the identified barrier(s). 

 

IMPACT/OUTCOME:  In FY 2005, ARS gained minority and female representation from FY 2004 and promotions for minorities and women increased from FY 2004.  Compared to FY 2004, minorities and women separated at a lower rate in FY 2005 and the hiring rate was higher than the separation rate. 

 

ACCOMPLISHMENTS:  CRS provided Reasonable Accommodation training to the Area/Staff Directors and to 50 percent of supervisors and managers (the remaining 50 percent will be trained in FY 2006 through AgLearn). 

 

IMPACT/OUTCOME:  The Reasonable Accommodation awareness training has increased communication with employees and supervisors/managers. 

 

Performance Measure 6.3.2:  Implement proactive measures to maintain a work environment free from discrimination.

 

Indicators:

 

During FY 2005, ARS will  

 

provide to all employees new/updated EEO civil rights policies and procedures and training on the EEO process.  All employees will be held accountable through annual performance ratings.

 

ACCOMPLISHMENTS:  The following were developed/revised and distributed to all ARS employees, and/or placed on the CRS website:  ARS and Area EEO/Civil Rights policy statements, Sexual Harassment Policy Statement, Reasonable Accommodation brochure and posters (sent to the ACRMs for dissemination to Area locations), Diversity vs. Affirmative Action (describes the difference between diversity and affirmative action), and the EEO Complaint Process.  The above was also included in the new employee orientation training packages, research leader training, and new supervisory/managerial training.  The following have been completed, and will be forwarded to all ARS employees in FY 2006 upon the Administrator’s approval:  policies and procedures regarding anti-harassment and official time (regarding the use of official time by complainants and employees of ARS who are designated as representatives of other ARS employees in employment discrimination matters).  In partnership with the HRD and the Recruitment Office, ARS coordinated/conducted training regarding all aspects of the EEO Programs to all employees.  The ARS Policy and Procedure (P&P) 401.5, “ARS EEO Program”, was revised and reviewed by selected officials.  The P&P will be forwarded to the Administrator for approval in FY 2006. 

 

IMPACT/OUTCOME:  EEO and Civil Rights information provided to all internal and external customers helps maintain a workplace free from discrimination, which may remove employment barriers.  Training will be provided during FY 2006 to ARS employees regarding anti-harassment through AgLearn.  

 

continue to promote developmental programs and career opportunities.    

 

ACCOMPLISHMENTS:  ARS continues to encourage the utilization of ARS developmental programs and mentoring to enhance career and developmental opportunities.  ARS continues to partner with higher-learning institutions and organizations to educate and provide hands-on work experience.  

 

IMPACT/OUTCOME:  ARS has increased Federal funding to enhance student development and career opportunities in agricultural research.  Thirty-five SCEPs (Student Career Experience Program) and 19 post-docs were converted/hired to permanent full-time employment. 

 

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