The Technical Library In a rapidly changing world, it is essential to capture opportunities for launching new initiatives that advance and promote our profession. Nearly three decades ago, visionary Society members established a non-profit ASABE Foundation dedicated to providing financial support for new initiatives that improve services to members and herald our profession worldwide. ASABE’s Technical Library is one example where the impact has been ubiquitous and the member benefits have been significant. Digitizing publications While the World Wide Web was still in its infancy in the mid-1990s, the Foundation approved $31,000 seed money for the Publication Council’s farsighted proposal to determine the need and develop specifications for an electronic information database that would include the Society’s journals, meeting papers, and other publications. In July 1999, the Board of Trustees approved the electronic publication initiative and a total budget of $250,000, with the goal to open the online Technical Library by the beginning of the twenty-first century. The Foundation provided $150,000, with the remaining $100,000 contributed by the Society’s Initiative Fund. The ASAE Technical Library came online on schedule on January 4, 2001. However, funding only allowed the addition of new documents. Material published before 2001—the legacy publications that required reprocessing and associated costs—were beyond the scope of the annual budget. In his 2001 inaugural address, ASAE President Wayne Skaggs announced the inclusion of the legacy publications in the Technical Library as one of his presidential goals and persuaded the Foundation to launch a campaign, which was generously supported by members who provided funding to add nearly 12,000 journal articles published from 1956 to 2000. Today, more than 30,000 documents of technical content, including ASABE Standards, all issues of refereed journals, technical papers presented since the 2001 meeting, proceedings of conferences since 2000, textbooks and teaching materials, handbooks, and other special publications are available at elibrary.asabe.org. The ASABE Technical Library serves members by providing access to up to 100 documents and five Standards at no cost. Members interested in accessing additional documents can download them at a significantly discounted member rate. For an annual fee, subscribing institutions and companies can access full text for all students and employees through a licensing agreement. The subscriber list includes all USDA installations, U.S. degree-granting institutions, universities in China, and many educational institutions worldwide. How can you contribute? We should feel proud that ASABE has enabled easy accessibility of technical content to students and teachers, especially in parts of the world where the cost of printed publications is prohibitive and compromises learning experiences. Inspired and foresighted members and staff conceived and implemented the ASABE Technical Library. The Foundation is currently supporting several other exciting projects and prestigious awards. We invite you to visit the Foundation website (www.asabe.org/foundation.aspx) and volunteer to actively support a project of your choice. Because our profession thrives on solving problems that advance agricultural, food, and biological systems by integrating discoveries and knowledge from multiple fields, its disciplinary knowledge is always fast changing. This presents a special challenge in the preparation of instructional materials. Recently, peer-reviewed teaching modules and other teaching materials have been proposed to fill the gap. Support for these projects, especially projects in biosystems engineering, may be an attractive opportunity for you. Do you have some other ideas and suggestions? Let us hear from you! ASABE Fellow and Foundation Trustee Brahm P. Verma, Professor Emeritus, Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering, The University of Georgia, Athens, USA, email@example.com. ASABE member and Foundation Development Committee Chair Sylvia Schonauer, P.E., Principal Engineer, Advanced Innovation, W. K. Kellogg Institute, Battle Creek, Michigan, USA; firstname.lastname@example.org. Valuable input from Donna Hull, retired ASABE Publications Director, Joseph Walker, current ASABE Publications Director, and Past President R. Wayne Skaggs is gratefully acknowledged.
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