Identifying the Core Periodical Literature of the Agricultural Communications Documentation Center

Joseph R. Zumalt
2007 Journal of Agricultural & Food Information  
Agricultural communications" is an emerging field which is naturally both part of the "agriculture" and "communications" literature. However, it is much broader than just a subset of each. The coverage of standard databases such as CAB Abstracts and Communication Abstracts, while a good start, does not sufficiently cover the field. The Agricultural Communications Documentation Center (ACDC) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has, over the last quarter century, worked to help
more » ... e and collect this literature, by identifying relevant documents and entering them into a Web-searchable Microsoft Access database. An analysis of this database reveals important clues concerning the literature of agricultural communications. Of the nearly 30,000 documents within the ACDC collection, periodical articles comprise a little over one half, from a core list of 45 periodicals within the ACDC collection. More than one half of these core periodicals are outside the traditional agriculture and life science literature; approximately one third are scholarly journals. Agriculture plays an essential role in every culture throughout the world. Everyone has to eat. While much of the world is still stuck in subsistence agriculture, barely eking out a living and able to feed their families, another sizeable proportion of humanity is enjoying the fruits of modernity. Our modern world is engaged in global commerce with nearly ubiquitous, instant communications. We are awash in information, but most know very little about what is in their food or how it is produced. Establishing an organized system to share information about agriculture, specifically food safety, can be a matter of life and death. Effective communication has long been recognized as vital to the food and agricultural enterprises of societies. Thousands of reports and analyses have documented the integral role of information and human communication throughout these enterprises, in every sector of agriculture-related activity, from local to global (See Huffman and Tegene; Roberts and Schimmelpfennig; Truelsen; McInerney, Bird, and Nucci; Fry; Mody; King; Corey; and Dickson for a few recent examples). Front-page, prime-time news often testifies to breakdowns in the flow and quality of information about current public issues related to food and agriculture (e.g., Coghlan; Smyth and Phillips). Agricultural communications, as considered here, encompasses all kinds of human communication in relation to agriculture, food, natural resources and rural interests. It obviously involves two wide streams of endeavor: communications and agriculture. As a discipline, agricultural communications seeks to connect these two well-established streams effectively-somewhat akin to the role of a lubricant, integral and vital to an operating engine. INTERPAKS Interchange 74
doi:10.1300/j108v08n03_05 fatcat:lcrvqplwk5gqpm33kppinkyely