Agency Honors Information Expert
By Amy Spillman
February 13, 2002
BELTSVILLE, Md., Feb.
13Jean Larson, a technical
information specialist with the Agricultural
Research Service, will receive the agencys Excellence in
Information award today in a ceremony at the
Henry A. Wallace Beltsville Agricultural
Larson heads the Animal Welfare
Information Center at the National
Agricultural Library in Beltsville. The library is part of ARS, the
U.S. Department of Agricultures chief
scientific research agency.
The motivation behind Larsons award-winning work can be traced back to
a 1985 Congressional amendment to the Animal Welfare Act (AWA). The amendment
called for a new servicethe Animal Welfare Information Center
(AWIC)at the National Agricultural Library that would provide information
about improved methods of experimentation that could reduce, refine or replace
animal use in research, education and testing; improve employee training in
animal well-being, and provide for environmental enrichment of non-human
primates and exercise for dogs.
Larson has been in charge of AWIC since its inception. Under her direction,
it has become an invaluable resource to the scientific community, most notably
for the development of search strategies that help researchers, teachers and
educators locate information resources that address animal pain and distress
and provide alternative animal models, procedures and techniques.
In 2000, AWIC staff answered more than 14,000 information requests from
administrators, researchers, students, veterinarians and the public. During the
past 10 years, thousands of participants from pharmaceutical companies and
major federal, university and commercial laboratories have attended AWIC
workshops on the information requirements of the AWA.
The AWIC staff is constantly developing and updating information products.
Under Larsons direction, AWIC publishes a semiannual bulletin on animal
care and research issues that circulates to more than 7,500 individuals in 43
countries. Larson also led AWICs production of the Compendium of
Animal Resources CD-ROM, and she and her staff have created numerous
bibliographies, directories and manuals, as well as a training video. The staff
maintains and continually updates the extensive
AWIC web site that averages more
than 67,000 hits per month. In 1991, AWIC received the
American Library Associations
prestigious John Cotton Dana Award for its effective outreach programs.
The Excellence in Information honor is awarded to an ARS
employee for outstanding contributions to the ability of the agency to
coordinate and deliver information services and technologies that support
agricultural research and education. Larsons citation is for 15
years of outstanding leadership in developing information products and services
aiding researchers in meeting the requirements of the Animal Welfare Act.
ARS Acting Administrator Edward B. Knipling will present Larson with a cash
award and a plaque at the Feb. 13 ceremony.
Larson has worked for USDA for almost 27 years. She received her
bachelors degree in zoology from Elmira
College in 1962 and her masters degree in zoology from
Boston University in 1969. She lives in
Laurel, Md., near her twin daughters and grandson, who reside in Baltimore.