TITLE: Agriculture Network Information Center

ACCESS: http://www.central.agnic.org/

Agriculture Network Information Center (AgNIC) is hosted by a partnership between the National Agricultural Library, and various universities, government agencies, and organizations within the agricultural community. The AgNIC partnership was formed in 1998 to act as a portal for agricultural information. Each partner is responsible for accumulating and maintaining information in designated subject areas.

This site offers three main search strategies: keyword (simple and advanced), thesaurus, or browsing by subject. A keyword search will yield the title of a Web page, a brief description of the site, subject descriptors, keywords, and a URL address. The results of a search may be sorted by either relevancy or title, and then displayed either by headlines only or full description. The thesaurus offers alternative search terms (organized as broader, narrower and related terms) that can be combined and searched.

Browsable subjects, located below the keyword box, are organized into fifteen general topics such as "Farms and Farming Systems," "Insects and Entomology," and "Plant Science and Plant Products." These subjects are further subdivided into narrower terms.

Standard site information (site history, partners/sponsors, and contact information) is available through the navigation bar at the top of the page, along with a calendar option. The calendar lists agricultural conferences, meetings, and seminars. It is organized by date as well as by subject, includes an archive, and lists of over 300 additional agricultural calendars. There is also a "Search Tips" feature, located in the search box, which provides a very brief description of what each function is and how it works.

One weakness of AgNIC is it relies on each partner to support designated subjects; some contribute more than others. Also, this site is updated infrequently, most recently in September 2002. Six redirected links and two "no server responses" were discovered during this review.

Most of the information available through AgNIC resides on other Web sites. One can find the same information through most search engines. However, the partners of AgNIC do a good job of collaborating, organizing, and disseminating information in one location. In addition, the interface is clean and fairly intuitive to use.

This site is geared toward the general audience, as well as the academic community, particularly those involved in agricultural research. Undergraduate students in the sciences will probably use AgNIC the most.

John Repplinger
Willamette University

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