Penn State team recognized for 4-H, nutrition research databases

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- A Penn State team has received accolades for developing research databases related to 4-H and the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program, also known as EFNEP.

Led by Jan Scholl, associate professor of agricultural and extension education, and Amy Paster, head of the Life Sciences Library and associate librarian in the Penn State University Libraries, the team was selected to receive the 2013 Oberly Award for Bibliography in the Agricultural or Natural Sciences from the Association of College and Research Libraries' Science and Technology Section.

A cash award and plaque will be presented to the team during the 2013 American Library Association annual conference, June 28 to July 2 in Chicago.

The 4-H youth-development program and EFNEP are part of federally supported cooperative extension programs administered by the nation's land-grant universities, including Penn State.

"The 4-H Youth Development database provides access to the breadth of extension and experiment station research for 4-H programs, which are a hallmark of youth education across the country," said award co-chairs Elizabeth Berman, of the University of Vermont, and Rachel Borchardt, of American University, in a statement.

"This database represents a very rich set of information that researchers can employ in their own states and programs, and its significance is telling by its wide use both nationally and internationally."

The 4-H databases contain a collection of citations relating to youth development -- one database for graduate and undergraduate studies, another with state, national and experiment station research. The EFNEP database has similar citations within the field of food and nutrition education.

The repositories include 4-H studies from 1911 to the present and EFNEP research from the more than 40 years the program has been in existence. The databases are updated monthly.

The databases filled a critical need for access to previous research related to these programs, according to Scholl, who is 4-H curriculum specialist for Penn State Extension.

"Throughout the 20th century, state and federal extension administrators attempted to locate a research base of studies to demonstrate the value of 4-H and family and consumer sciences programs," said Scholl. "Until recently, the widespread perception was that studies did not exist, except for a handful published in recent years."

Development of the databases also earned the team the 2011 Partnership Award for Effective and Efficient Use of Resources from USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture and the 2012 Internet Education Award from the National Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences.

Others involved with the project are Helen Smith, associate librarian, Wayne Ellenberger, programmer-analyst, Linda Klimczyk, information technology manager, and Sherry Lonsdale, database specialist, from Penn State University Libraries; Bruce Grinder, information technology specialist, and David Abler, professor of agricultural, environmental and regional economics and demography, in the College of Agricultural Sciences; and librarian Melanie Gardner, of the National Agricultural Library.

The Association of College and Research Libraries is a division of the American Library Association, representing more than 12,000 academic and research librarians and interested individuals.

The Oberly Award was established in 1923 in memory of Eunice Rockwood Oberly, librarian of the Bureau of Plant Industry, U.S. Department of Agriculture from 1908 to 1921. This biennial award is given in odd-numbered years for the best English-language bibliography in the field of agriculture or a related science.

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Last Updated May 03, 2013