USAIN 2016 Conference Proceedings

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The United States Agricultural Information Network is an organization for information professionals that provides a forum for discussion of agricultural issues, takes a leadership role in the formation of a national information policy as related to agriculture, makes recommendations to the National Agricultural Library on agricultural information matters, and promotes cooperation and communication among its members. The USAIN Conferences focus on information resources for agriculture and life sciences research and practice. The conferences are sponsored by the United States Agricultural Information Network in order to offer librarians a forum for sharing professional information. The conferences are hosted every other year. This collection contains proceedings to past conferences. For more information about past and future conferences please visit


Recent Submissions

Now showing 1 - 10 of 27
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    Collaborating to Facilitate Data Literacy in Agricultural Experiment Stations
    Bracke, Marianne Stowell; Kopriva, Noel; Williams, Sarah C. (2016)
    Collaboration has always been an important strategy for libraries, and this is especially true in the area of data literacy. Our project describes the collaboration between librarians, both subject and data specialists, and the North Central Regional Association (NCRA) of State Agricultural Experiment Station Directors. NCRA is one of five regional associations of Experiment Station Directors across the United States and covers twelve states in the Midwest and Plains regions. The NCRA Directors were aware of federal funding mandates requiring changes in the way data generated from sponsored research would need to be shared but were unsure of what they needed to know to support their researchers. To better understand the issues, they reached out to librarians, who in turn had to consider two important factors about their partners in collaboration. First, though all are Directors of Experiment Stations they occupy a variety of roles within their universities, from administrators in their Ag College to active researchers, and they come from a range of agricultural disciplines. Therefore, their experience and perceived needs for data literacy ranged widely. Secondly, and more importantly, as administrators they wanted information quickly and succinctly. A sub-group of the librarians have begun to create a series of short videos that describe the recent history of data mandates, an overview of available data tools (e.g., repositories, DMPTool), and ways that librarians on their campuses can help their researchers. To create the videos, the librarians develop a slide deck and script and work with an E-Learning Librarian to record and refine the videos. This collaboration has begun to expand the relationships between the librarians and their Agricultural Experiment Station Directors. It will also create resources that can be broadly shared with other regional experiment stations and re-purposed for other data instruction.
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    Literary Garden: Bringing the Idea to Fruition
    Williams, Sarah C.; Chambers, Jessica (2016)
    In 2006, Illinois State University’s Milner Library partnered with the university’s Horticulture Center to establish a Literary Garden at the Horticulture Center. Starting only with the idea of bringing together nature and literature, the Literary Garden concept developed into plans to connect literary passages to the nature that inspired the author and to make these connections throughout the Horticulture Center with signs that provide information about the authors and audio recordings of select passages. Limited resources and technological constraints slowed the actual establishment of the Literary Garden, but in September 2015, the Literary Garden made its debut. This poster highlights the Midwestern authors and their works currently featured and shares information about how the Literary Garden came to fruition, including identifying passages, securing copyright permissions, organizing audio recordings, creating signs, and using QR codes.
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    Designing Learning Spaces for Agriculture, Life Sciences and Human Ecology Students
    Wright, Sara; Andrews, Camille; Ochs, Mary (2016-04)
    As part of their learning experience, students often are asked to work together in new ways ranging from group presentations to poster sessions to video production. During a major library renovation in 2007, our library responded to students’ needs with the unveiling of a new collaborative center. Five years later, it was time for an upgrade. In the spring of 2012, our library's learning technologies team began the next phase of space redesign by applying a variety of qualitative and quantitative strategies to find out what users now needed to work together most effectively. We investigated recent trends in library space design and examined how our library compared with those trends. Through surveys and interviews, and participatory design exercises such as an ideal space design exercise and photo diaries, our team gathered feedback on the practices and needs of students working collaboratively. We then used this data to help redesign our collaborative study spaces. The results of this work are visible in our expanded collaborative center installed in 2015. We'll outline our research process, share the results of our review of recent library space design trends and our research into what our students most desire in a collaborative space, and show the changes the library has made in response to student feedback. We were also curious to know whether we were offering the technology students needed. Were cloud-based tools like Google Docs and Dropbox enough? To help answer this question, we performed usability testing on a variety of emerging technologies including Team Spot collaborative software, Media:scape, and Click-share. Attendees will be able to identify recent collaborative work space trends and the needs of some users at a large research-intensive university and walk away with research techniques and learning space designs to consider using at their own institutions.
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    Building a curated collection of student projects derived from library resources: Utilizing the university’s e-repository for sustainable teaching practices
    Downs, Ashley (2016-04)
    Lightning Talk presentation on building a student curated university e-repository fro sustainable teaching practices
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    Adapting Sufia for use in TEEAL-AgriKnowlege
    Ochs, Mary; Paulson, Joy (2016-04)
    Lightning Talk presentation on adapting the Sufia-Hydra repository stack for use with the AgriKnowledge project
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    Research to Practice: Facilitating Evidence-based Programming Through an Undergraduate Cooperative Extension Internship
    Young, Sarah; Maley, Mary (2016-04)
    The faculty, educators and staff of Cooperative Extension (CE) programs are at the intersection of research and practice, seeking to deliver the tools and skills needed to address real-life problems in communities across the state. However, the reality of effectively integrating constantly evolving research output into everyday practice is challenging. To address this problem, research staff in a campus translational research program developed an approach to comprehensively identify and synthesize research evidence to answer targeted and timely questions informing key areas of CE programming. The approach draws on systematic and rapid review methodologies and incorporates active engagement with community practitioners and extension staff. In the summer 2015, an undergraduate internship was developed around this approach, to address questions regarding effective volunteer retention and recruitment in 4-H programs covering two counties. The undergraduate intern worked with translational research staff, CE educators and a librarian to develop a targeted research question and comprehensive search strategy to identify the body of evidence on effective volunteer recruitment and retention strategies appropriate to the contextual conditions of state 4-H programs. The student was trained in the effective use of library databases, reference management tools, and the evaluation of scholarly literature. The internship sought to achieve both student learning outcomes in information literacy and translational research as well as to deliver evidence-based guidance to address the critical need for volunteers in 4-H programs around the state. This presentation will focus on the role of the library in supporting this engaged undergraduate research project and more broadly on the potential role of librarians in facilitating evidence-based extension programs.
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    Addressing the Open Data mandate from the White House’s Office of Science and Technology: What does it mean for the USDA’s Economics, Statistics and Market Information System?
    Downs, Ashley (2016-04)
    In January 2013, the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy issued a mandate: all federal agencies exceeding $100 million in research & development expenditures must release the results of federally funded research to the public within 12 months of publication. In response, the Department of Agriculture created a roadmap that the more than 30 agencies and offices that comprise the department would follow. Task forces were created and broad goals were set. To date, the implications that this mandate has on cooperative projects between academic libraries and the USDA remains unclear. The USDA Economics, Statistics and Market Information System (ESMIS) is one such project maintained in partnership between the library at our land grant university and five agencies of the USDA. ESMIS houses data and reports that haven’t resulted from R&D expenditures, but play a significant role in the public good. As the conversation progresses to make all federal work into usable and open forms, and the infrastructure of our ESMIS system becomes outdated, we are working with the USDA to plan for an infrastructure more supportive of valuable, usable data. In this poster, the factors important to rebuild the outdated repository with more modern, secure technologies will be addressed, as well as features to support the open data mandate.
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    Data Visualization: What Your Data Can Tell You and Your Patrons [POSTER]
    Carrillo, Erin; Ruenger-Hanson, Jean (2016-04)
    Data visualization is increasingly accessible. Free web tools make it easier to use the data that libraries and academic institutions already collect to assess and inform services, and tell our stories to users. Our library started investigating data visualization concepts and tools, reasoning that it might be a valuable service to offer our patrons. We started a learning circle of librarians who would investigate this topic, and share with the rest of library staff. The learning circle began by investigating resources that provided an introduction to data visualization, best practices, recommended tools, and examples. We also brainstormed frames (e.g. research services, undergraduate services) and audiences (e.g. faculty, students, library staff), and we performed an audit of all the data we already collect or have access to. We compiled a small toolkit of resources to introduce staff to data visualization, and lead a workshop on Piktochart, a free web tool that is designed for creating simple visualizations that can be shared online or printed, providing staff with library usage data that they could experiment with. Because of the increasing use of Tableau, a data visualization tool, at our institution, we decided to learn how to use the free version, Tableau Public. We organized the viewing of a webinar series on using Tableau Public at our library. As an exercise, one of the members of the learning circle used Tableau to visualize reference statistics. Tableau enabled her to gain interesting insights which have implications for staffing and training. Using the same data that we used in the Piktochart workshop, we held a Tableau workshop for staff, and had a discussion about the questions we had that our data might be able to answer. This poster will share our process, tools we used, and plans for the future.
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    Becoming More Productive: Helping Graduate Students Teach Each Other About Workflow Strategies [POSTER]
    Morris-Knower, James (2016-04)
    Our Library has been working over the past few years on a project to create workflow workshops for and by graduate students. The program has taken on various iterations, and reached its “aha” moment last year, when the library—in partnership with the University's Graduate School-- recruited groups of 3-4 graduate students from the social sciences, life and physical sciences and humanities, and then asked them to share their workflow strategies with other grads from across campus. This very successful workshop, held March 2015 in our library, was attended by over sixty graduate students, and we plan to make this an annual event. Here was the workshop description on the events calendar: “The Library and the Graduate School are co-sponsoring “Becoming More Productive,” a workflow workshop for graduate students on Wednesday March 18, 2-4 pm in the Library. This engaging and informative session will allow you to learn from fellow graduate students a range of strategies for gathering, storing, organizing and synthesizing all your information and data for your research and teaching. Come learn to be more productive!” This poster will outline the program’s history, how it came to be, the logistics involved and the outcomes. The goal is to share ideas and show how easy it would be for other USAIN libraries to host similar programs.
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