41 Association of Research Libraries Research Library Issues 298 2019 The AgNIC Data Working Group: University Collaboration with the National Agricultural Library Erica M. Johns, Head of Research Services and Scholarly Engagement, Albert R. Mann Library, Cornell University Cynthia Parr, Technical Information Specialist, National Agricultural Library, Agricultural Research Service, US Department of Agriculture The Agriculture Network Information Collaborative (AgNIC) is a group of member institutions “dedicated to enhancing collective information and services…for all those seeking agricultural information.”1 AgNIC member institutions are predominantly US land- grant universities,2 but include Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, and the collaborative has established strategic partnerships with the International Association of Agriculture Information Specialists (IAALD), the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), and the United States Agricultural Information Network (USAIN).3 AgNIC is a project-based initiative that accomplishes tasks through working groups related to established interest areas, such as agriculture data.4 The AgNIC Data Working Group (DWG) started in 2017 as a response to the DataRefuge movement, a campaign to safeguard federal data (particularly environmental and climate data) from politically motivated removal.5 The DWG was concerned about continued, long-term access to data sets from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), in addition to the climate and environmental data that DataRescue events6 focused on saving. These open, public- facing events, also called “archive-a-thons,” were highly mobilized and efficient, with community-sourced efforts conducted at a speed that allowed for fairly comprehensive and fast scraping of endangered government data. Before an AgNIC effort could advance towards rescuing the researcher-identified, highly impactful data sets, the working group found that most data sets were already cataloged and saved within the archive-a-thon framework. Despite the reduced urgency of participating in relevant data rescue activities, however, the
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