The topic of this issue, Agriculture, in particular its history and economics, is a major area of CRL collecting strength. CRL holdings are extensive and in many instances not widely held even by major academic research libraries.
Many of the historical collections on this subject are currently at risk. Agriculture libraries at many U.S. land-grant universities are under intense pressure to divest of little-used back files of agricultural journals and government publications, as these specialized library custodians embrace digital collections and databases more rapidly than many other academic libraries. Unfortunately, at the same time, historical publications in this domain are becoming newly important to humanities and social science research. Longitudinal studies of economic systems are gaining new attention in the fields of History, Sociology, Economics, and Political Science. Witness recent high-impact works like Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff’s This Time is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly, which culls historical data on crop yields, food prices, and other agricultural matters from central bank, NGO, and government publications, and gazettes from dozens of countries.
This issue of FOCUS features articles on the archiving of agricultural print collections, historical journals digitized by CRL and ProQuest, and CRL holdings of agricultural census data. We hope that this information provides useful insights on the state of collections in this important field.
Bernard F. Reilly, Jr.