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Lithographic plate of a drawing of a Lady Gould Finch
Lithographic plate of "Lady Gould finch," from a digitized article on cage-bird traffic in the 1906 Yearbook of Agriculture.
Image courtesy National Agricultural Library Digital Repository.

Digital Repository Provides Public Access Online to Selected USDA Publications

By Len Carey
April 25, 2006

The National Agricultural Library (NAL) has established an online digital repository providing convenient public access to the full text of selected U.S. Department of Agriculture publications.

NAL, the largest and most accessible agricultural library in the world, is part of the Agricultural Research Service (ARS), USDA's chief scientific research agency.

The NAL Digital Repository (NALDR) contains a wide variety of publications that have been digitized and made available online.

While documents will continually be added to NALDR, currently available in the repository are:

  • The Rural Development Publication Digitizing Project, providing access to publications produced since the 1800s and chosen as being the most relevant titles on rural development. These include the entire series of Rural Development Research Reports, Rural Development Perspectives, Agricultural Economic Reports, and Agriculture Information Bulletins, as well as selected Economic Research Staff Reports and the first 300 volumes of Agriculture Handbooks.
  • The Yearbook of the United States Department of Agriculture series. Published from 1894 to 1992, the yearbooks contain statistical information, summaries of research developments and comprehensive surveys of particular subjects important to agriculture, providing an important annual "snapshot" of U.S. agriculture. The yearbooks for 1894 to 1914 are currently available in the NALDR. The remaining volumes will be added in 2006.

For the user, the NALDR offers several features to facilitate searching and access, including fully searchable text, quick-loading files and a printing/downloading option for converting images to the commonly used Portable Document Format (PDF).

The NALDR focuses on print publications that have been digitized, and is the first component of what NAL plans as an integrated electronic repository for agricultural literature incorporating an array of electronic documents.