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Grant Funds Digitization of Vintage Agricultural Publications

The University of Tennessee Libraries has secured funding from Project Ceres to digitize and preserve a selection of vintage agricultural publications from UT Extension and UT Experiment Stations (now named UT AgResearch). A digital collection of the Tennessee Farm News (1922-1988), Tennessee Farm and Home Science (1952-1988), and a series of Extension special circulars (1925-1968) will be available online next year at digital.lib.utk.edu.

1940 extension circular

We’re saving these treasures just in time! This 1940 circular from the Agriculture Extension Service includes designs for home gardens, gates, and fences. (Click image for higher-resolution PDF.)

These early agricultural publications from the UT Institute of Agriculture are used regularly for research on historical crop yields, markets, farm tips, and Tennessee agricultural programs. UT preserved the Extension publications in the university archives and is the only library known to hold copies [according to a search of WorldCat, the world’s largest bibliographic database].

“I am thrilled to learn you are seeking support to digitize the Tennessee Farm News and the Tennessee Farm and Home News,” John Stier, associate dean of the Herbert College of Agriculture, wrote to UT’s agriculture librarian. “The success of today’s high technology-driven agricultural production, food storage and safety relies on the practical and proven technology extant in these two publications. The information in these collections was largely if not exclusively paid for by public funds, and so it is appropriate to ensure the accessibility of the information through digitization for the public good.”

The publications — which feature topics such as 4-H clubs, homemaking, and the Tennessee Valley Authority — hold significant research value for a wide audience of agriculture scholars, farming communities, and members of the public interested in historical farm and home topics.

1937 barn design

A 1937 circular includes plans for a tobacco barn – “Storage Capacity: Approximately 3.5 Acres.” (Click for higher-resolution PDF.)

More than 29,000 pages of documents will be digitized, made fully text-searchable, and enhanced with metadata to aid discovery of the collection. In addition to expanding electronic access to the historical publications, the Project Ceres grant will fund conservation of the original print editions and creation of a bibliography of Extension and Experiment Station publications.

Project Ceres supports preservation and digitization of primary serial collections that are vital to study of the history and economics of agriculture. Project Ceres is a collaboration between the US Agricultural Information Network, the Agriculture Network Information Collaborative, and the Center for Research Libraries.
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For more information, contact:
Louisa Trott, Digital Projects Librarian, UT Libraries, 865-974-6913 or ltrott1@nullutk.edu
Isabella Baxter, Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources Librarian, UT Libraries, 865-974-8116, ibaxter1@nullutk.edu

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