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NAL, University Partner on Information Project

By Len Carey
January 21, 2004

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Agricultural Library (NAL) has established a pilot demonstration project with Mississippi State University (MSU) in Starkville that will give MSU researchers, teachers and students easier and faster access to the latest and best available information in the agricultural sciences.

NAL director Peter R. Young and MSU president Charles Lee have signed a cooperative agreement to establish the first-of-its-kind partnership between the library and a university and to launch the DigiTop PLUS Pilot Demonstration Project at MSU.

The collaboration means the MSU community will have licensed access through the World Wide Web to science-based information on agriculture and related fields through electronic scientific journals. This service will be integrated with electronic reference and document delivery services provided by NAL, based in Beltsville, Md.

In addition to the benefits to MSU, the project will provide NAL an opportunity to test the feasibility, costs and effectiveness of extending the digital desktop system to other colleges and universities with programs in agricultural sciences.

The MSU Digital DeskTop PLUS service is patterned after DigiTop, NAL's Digital Desktop Library for USDA, introduced in January 2003. DigiTop provides USDA employees with access to electronic newspapers, directories, databases and thousands of full-text journal articles in agriculture and related sciences.

NAL, the world's foremost agricultural library, is part of the Agricultural Research Service, USDA's chief scientific research agency.