What are Collections of Distinction?

In anticipation of the Google Digitization Project, a select few collections from the University of Minnesota Libraries were identified by our librarians as Collections of Distinction. The selected collections are unique and/or comprehensive in their subject areas, and were therefore given priority for scanning and digital preservation for the long term. The Natural Resources Library (NRL) is home to two of these Collections of Distinction: Forestry and Entomology (including Apiculture [beekeeping]). See below for more details about these collections. For more information on the Google project, please see the Library webpage Google Digitization Project.

Natural Resources Library: Forestry Collection of Distinction

The former Forestry Library, now incorporated into the NRL, was designated a “Center of Excellence” by the National Agriculture Library (NAL) in 1995, which is a testimony to the breadth and depth of forestry collections*. The Forestry Collection of Distinction at the NRL was selected due to the special and unique focus on government information, international forestry, urban forestry, forest products, pulp and paper, social dimensions of forestry (including forestry economics), tropical forestry, and trail literature. It also includes a large rare books collection on the topic of forestry, with many 19th and early 20th Century monographs and a variety of local, state, regional, national, and international serials.

The NRL has one of the strongest collections of current and historical U.S. Forest Service (USFS) publications anywhere, a nearly comprehensive collection. The Forest Service is a prolific publisher, and has many serial reports as well as miscellaneous publications associated with each of the ten USFS research stations. The research, technical transfer, and other activities in USFS are very wide ranging. Forestry economics, social dimensions of forestry, forest resource inventories, forest law, environmental impacts, investment and finance, forest history, public lands, timber supply and harvesting, engineering, management, labor, forest entomology and wildlife, tree and plant physiology and pathology, and wood utilization and paper products are only a few of the subjects covered by USFS.

Much of the collection is indexed in one of the four Forestry Databases (Social Sciences in Forestry, Urban Forestry, Tropical Forest Conservation & Development, and Trail Planning, Construction & Maintenance), which are widely known and freely available via the Web.

And finally, it should be noted that the NRL has strong representation of international forestry literature in many languages – specific uniquely strong collections include those focused on Canadian, German, Latvian, Korean, Chinese, Australian, and Russian forestry in native languages.

Natural Resources Library: Entomology Collection of Distinction

The Entomology Collection of Distinction housed at the NRL includes over 6,000 volumes and 260 periodical titles, as well as over 700 rare books. The collection was incorporated from the former Entomology, Fisheries & Wildlife (EFW) Library. The original EFW Library collections came from Otto Lugger, the first entomologist for the Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station, and Father Francis Jager, a renowned beekeeping expert and faculty member whose bee collection (660 books) came to the library in 1930.

A subset of the Entomology Collection of Distinction is the Bees and Beekeeping (Apiculture) Collection. It consists of a total of over 1,100 volumes, including the 660 volumes from Father Francis Jager. The Bees and Beekeeping Collection contains at least 300 rare books, plus approximately 60 periodical titles.

Many of the rare books mentioned above came from the Jager and Lugger collections. Notable works include the earliest English language work on entomology, Thomas Moffett's Insectorum, London, 1634. The oldest imprint in the collection is Ulisse Aldrovandi's De Animalibus Insectis Libri Septem..., Bologna, 1602. Much of the older entomological literature is German, although the subject coverage is worldwide and includes resources in many languages representing not only North America and Western Europe, but also Eastern Europe, Southeast and East Asia, and South America.

A small complementary component of rare and valuable pre-WWII entomology books and serials can be found at another University of Minnesota Library, The Wangensteen Historical Library of Biology and Medicine.

*U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Agricultural Library. 1996. National Agricultural Library
Annual Report for 1995. Beltsville, MD.