National Agricultural Library: Science at Your Fingertips
The National Agricultural Library (NAL) provides access to millions of journal articles and other publications, as well as rare books and manuscript materials in its Special Collections unit. NAL is also a leader in scientific data management, benefiting USDA-funded researchers and scientists everywhere. NAL houses FoodData Central, an integrated data system that provides expanded nutrient profile data and links to related agricultural and experimental research.
NAL is a treasure trove of information on all things agriculture, and not all that long ago, researchers and the public had to travel to Beltsville, MD, to use the library’s vast resources. But today, much of the information is available at your fingertips, thanks to ongoing efforts to digitize the library’s holdings. NAL has greatly increased access to journal articles and other publications, special collections, and rare materials. This year, the library put together onsite and online exhibits showcasing rare Smokey Bear artwork and artifacts to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the wildfire-prevention mascot. The library also hired its first Wikipedian-in-Residence to ensure that its entries on Wikipedia are accurate and thorough.
NAL is a leader in scientific data management, benefiting researchers everywhere. A research study generates a lot of data, and publishing that data fosters trust and speeds progress on new science. NAL updated its data-management tool, “Ag Data Commons,” with a fresh design for ease of use. Ag Data Commons curators help researchers prepare high-quality data-management plans that ensure that dollars spent on research have the largest possible impact. There’s something new for the consumer, too: FoodData Central is an integrated data system that provides expanded nutrient profile data and links to related agricultural and experimental research.