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New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

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NMSU Library receives grant to help preserve

The New Mexico State University Library has received a $97,755 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities/United States Agriculture Information Network to preserve publications documenting New Mexico agriculture and rural history.

The grant will fund a collaborative project with nine other libraries at land grant institutions. Tim McKimmie, NMSU agriculture librarian and local project director, said the NMSU Library will develop a comprehensive bibliography of works published between 1820 and 1945 that are critical to the story of agriculture and rural life in New Mexico.

"The bibliography will make it easier for researchers to access the information," McKimmie said. "And with the information being available on the Web, it will create a central access point for researchers."

A scholarly review panel will rank approximately 5,000 titles according to their priority as research resources. The top 30 percent of the volumes will be targeted for preservation on microfilm. The microfilm will be cataloged in an international database with the originals housed at the National Agriculture Library and circulation copies available to library users. The review panel will be made up of NMSU faculty members from range science, history and sociology, and a representative from the New Mexico Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum.

Many of the publications that will be under review focus in the struggles between the poor and land barons, the changes brought about by the building of railroads and the effects of disasters such as the dustbowl.

"A lot of the older materials, some more than 100 years old, are deteriorating so researchers are not able to borrow them from the library," McKimmie said. "This venture is part of a larger, nationwide movement to preserve our history."

Chris J. Minnick
Aug. 10, 2000