Colorado Agriculture Bibliography
About This Project
The Colorado Agriculture and Rural Life bibliography is big. It encompasses both the records called for in the NEH national project—books, serials, dissertations and theses (about 4,000 records)—as well as other records encountered in the search process—maps, archival collections, photos, pamphlets, federal documents and more (about 12,000 records.) The search process concentrated on the former group of documents; the latter grouping is less comprehensive.
The bibliography also owes its size to the expanded scope of the search. The national project intends to identify and preserve publications related to “agriculture and rural life.” In Colorado, project staff interpreted “rural life” to imply not only farming and ranching, but other non-urban historical activities like mining and recreation.
For an extensive description of what to expect in the bibliography, please refer to the Colorado Bibliography Scope document:
How the Bibliography Developed
Once the scope was defined, staff created a list of subject headings and search terms. The lists already generated for the New York and North Dakota projects provided a useful model. For more specific information about the search terms, consult the list of search terms:
The next step was to search the following resources:
- OCLC’s WorldCat proved to be an important source of records. This database taps into major university and public library holdings around the world. This meant that we could use WorldCat to draw on important records at Prospector Libraries such as Denver Public Library, University of Colorado, Colorado State University, and the Colorado Historical Society.
- The Colorado State University library catalog contained some CSU theses that were not listed in WorldCat.
- Agricola—the catalog for the National Agriculture Library—provided many records.
- The Colorado Virtual Library Catalog reflects holdings of about 80 Colorado academic, special and public libraries. Searching this catalog accessed smaller libraries, some which perhaps would not be represented in WorldCat.
- Dissertation Abstracts offered theses and dissertations written about Colorado agriculture and rural life, but printed outside of Colorado.
- In the 1960s, CSU librarians Betty L. Hacker and Donald E. Oehlerts compiled the Index to Publications of the Colorado Agricultural Experiment Station, 1887-1965. (CSU Libraries Reference Z5075 .U6 C65 Ref) This print index lists many records that cannot be found by searching anywhere else, including electronic catalogs. Consequently, many researchers have not known that these publications exist. The print index was scanned, converted into electronic format, and unique records were imported into the bibliography.
- Searchers combed through 81 print sources (see below)—mostly history books—looking at footnotes, endnotes and bibliographies. These print sources offered more records that fit the scope. Several books cited records that we had already incorporated into the bibliography. This redundancy confirmed that we were capturing some of the core literature surrounding Colorado agriculture and rural life.
- After compiling the bibliography, staff isolated the records for books, serials, dissertations and theses (the specific records called for in the Preserving the History of United State Agriculture and Rural Life Project.) We presented these records to four scholars with expertise in agricultural history. These scholars identified which records were the most important for future preservation.