The purpose of this paper is to describe how the Livestock Library at the Australian Department of Agriculture and Food developed from being a dream to a reality into a virtual library that provides a single entry point to high quality research and extension information. It is a study of how information seekers with no library resources decided what information they valued and how they would like to access it; then went about developing a service to fulfil these criteria.
The paper is a narrative, describing the rationale for creating the Livestock Library and the methodology adopted to develop the service. The issues confronting the Livestock Library's owners now that the original three year funding period is over are also discussed.
The Livestock Library project demonstrates that with a relatively low level of funding it is possible to provide a substantial and valued online information service to support all participants in an industry. The Livestock Library is a “low maintenance” service that provides free access to the full text of three major Australian livestock industry conferences, access to articles published in five leading agricultural journals and facilitates access to information on selected high quality industry sites.
The project is original in its scope and success, providing a free service to suit all participants in Australia's livestock industry, in which all information accessed should be available in a single session. The Livestock Library demonstrates the merit of keeping a project simple – using “off the shelf” software and adopting library technology (federated searching) to target selected high quality web sites.
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