UCB Library to preserve ag literature
An $850,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities is helping the UC Berkeley library identify and preserve historical literature about agricultural development and rural life.
Norma Kobzina, librarian at the UC Bioscience and Natural Resources Library, is heading the venture at Berkeley. Kobzina says that California holds a vast wealth of information important to this project, which is a cooperative effort with eight other land-grant university libraries.
The rich literature to be preserved traces agriculture's evolution from a home-and-family way of life to the business enterprise of today. Much of the literature is from the original College of Agriculture (now UC Berkeley's College of Natural Resources) established in 1868. The college has myriad primary research resources and published documents, including the diaries and letters of settlers.
Many California land-grant publications have been preserved through a previous microfilming project. With this project, the UC Berkeley library staff will improve access to approximately 900 titles in more than 2,160 volumes, the most important 17% of materials still in need of preservation.
The project is part of the National Agricultural Preservation Program for Agricultural Literature developed by the National Agricultural Library and the US Agricultural Information Network in 1993. The initial work has been funded for the first year, beginning in July 1996, to identify state-level literature documenting the history of agricultural development and rural life covering 1820–1945. Four of the nine land-grant libraries will preserve the most valuable titles; UC is among the other five that will identify and rank the titles, but not preserve volumes until additional funding is received.
All historical literature will be identified and evaluated by a panel of scholars. Kenneth Carpenter, professor emeritus, and Garrison Sposito, professor, will represent UC Berkeley. Ann Foley Scheuring, who has done extensive writing about California agriculture, and Morton Rothstein, professor at UC Davis, are also on the panel.