Skip to main content
ARS Home » Northeast Area » Beltsville, Maryland (BARC) » Beltsville Agricultural Research Center » Bee Research Laboratory » Docs » The ARS Bee Bibliography

The ARS Bee Bibliography
headline bar

This unique Beekeeping Bibliography is of historical as well as current interest. It contains summaries, abstracts, and citations to books, pamphlets, and periodicals relating to beekeeping covering the period 1905-1973 without interruption and is probably the oldest available in the English language.

The Beekeeping Bibliography had its beginning in 1925 when James I. Hambleton, Chief, Division of Bee Culture, Bureau of Entomology, U.S. Department of Agriculture, brought together the books, pamphlets, and periodicals formerly kept in individual offices of the Division. Material from medical, biological, agricultural, and other non-beekeeping periodicals and abstract journals were indexed regularly by the librarian to reflect the changing interests of the scientists employed by the Division of Bee Culture. Most articles selected were obtained from the original rather than being added unverified.

In 1942, the Bee Library, along with other Bureau libraries of the Department of Agriculture, became part of the Department Library - later the National Agricultural Library (NAL). The Bee Library and Bibliography became the Bee Culture Branch of the National Agricultural Library until it was phased out in 1972. The Bee Culture Branch Library during its existence was supported heavily by the Apiculture Research Branch of the Agricultural Research Service. This support provided for an assistant to the librarian whose duties included preparation of summaries from foreign articles selected for inclusion in the Bibliography.

The Bibliography was retained at the Beltsville Bee Laboratory and in 1975 a commitment was made to prepare the Bibliography for computer retrieval. In 1976, the Bibliography was microfilmed to preserve the file integrity because the individual index cards had to be transported to other locations for Keypunching. One such location was the West Virginia prison system where female inmates used the Bibliography to learn Keypunching. From the keypunch cards the Bibliography was transferred to USDA's Prime computer in the Famulus format. The Bibliography was edited many times by various Bee Laboratory personnel and a hard copy was finally produced. However, there was no easy way to convert the Bibliography from the Famulus format to an IBM compatible format. Therefore, personnel at the Laboratory scanned the hard copy of the Bibliography into an IBM compatible word processor, and after more editing converted it into the present format; a 12 field delimited ASCII format suitable for import into any bibliographic program.

The Beekeeping Bibliography with over 30,000 records ceased in 1972 and only a few entries were made after that date. The database of the NAL "CAIN" (CAtaloging and INdexing) was developed and made functional by NAL in 1970, then in 1976 renamed "Agricola" (AGRICultural OnLine Access). Agricola consists of over 3,400,000 citations related to all aspects of agriculture covering 1970 to present.

This Bibliography represents the culmination of over 70 years of work by many organizations and individuals. We would like to acknowledge the first librarian, Ethel L. Coon and, later, Julia S. Merrill and Alfred D. Straughan for compiling the original Bibliography. We would especially like to acknowledge the help of Hilary Burton, Janet Barclay, Shirley Freeland, David Knox, Albert Michael, and Hachiro Shimanuki for their help in assimilating this online version.

  I WANT TO...
*Search the Bee Bibliography
*Search Agricola
National Agricultural Library