Microfilm to the Rescue: Over a Century of Guernsey Breeders’ Journal Now on the Internet Archive

Since 1970, America has lost over 90% of its dairy farms. Preserving the rich cultural history of our nation’s dairy farmers has gone from important to mission critical. As one small step on a challenging path, the Internet Archive is honored to partner with the American Guernsey Association, the official breed registry organization for Guernsey dairy cattle in the United States. For over a century, AGA has published the Guernsey Breeders’ Journal, the official publication of the AGA and the longest-running publication of any American dairy breed organization. Working with staff on two continents, the Archive has been able to digitize and make available to the public AGA’s entire collection of Journal issues, dating back to 1910.

Guernsey Breeders’ Journal, 1952

The Internet Archive is thrilled to partner with the AGA by making back issues of Guernsey Breeders’ Journal available for public access. The partnership offers something for everyone – farmers, industry, historians, and Guernsey-lovers alike. By digitizing the issues at no cost to AGA, and hosting them on the Archive’s own servers, AGA is free to distribute the entirety of its magazine collection by pointing its website users to the collection on the Internet Archive, or even embedding links to the issues on its own website.

According to Robin Alden, Executive Director for American Guernsey, the partnership has been a long time coming. “This is something we have wanted to do for a long time, and I think it will be a huge benefit to our readers and to Guernsey fans.”

“By working together, the Internet Archive has made all of the digitized issues available to the public, to search engines, and back to American Guernsey for their use and preservation,” said Marina Lewis, the Collections Manager of the Internet Archive. “We hope all publishers will work with us to make back issues publicly available.”

According to Alden, the Journal is a critically important tool to reach out to AGA’s members and constituents. With almost 2,000 issues dating back to 1910, the Journal is an opportunity to provide plenty of great content to readers. In fact, a recent survey by AGA indicates that its members and constituents received critical industry information from the Journal, beyond just membership in the AGA. The survey results showed that over 90% of Guernsey enthusiasts surveyed rely on the Journal for their primary source of news on the breed and the industry. 

This is something we have wanted to do for a long time, and I think it will be a huge benefit to our readers and to Guernsey fans.

Robin Alden, AGA Executive Director

In addition to industry news, the Journal is also an invaluable research tool. Alden says she receives phone calls every year from students and members of animal husbandry organizations such as 4H with requests for research materials and data. Alden is able to direct students to the online collection at the Internet Archive (and soon the AGA website) so students can have free access to historical data and images for their projects.

Most importantly, the Journal supports AGA’s mission to expand the demand for Guernsey differentiated consumer products and deliver premium returns for producers and breeder members, with the goal of providing leadership, promoting programs, services, and technologies to ensure the integrity of the breed – while enhancing the value for its members, owners, and the industry. AGA also offers a variety of products and services, in addition to its breed registry. Among these are Golden Guernsey, a consumer-facing site that offers premium dairy goods from AGA’s network of Guernsey farmers throughout the United States and Canada.

For many readers, though, having such access to the Journal provides more than just facts and data; for many, having online access to the Journal offers a window to their past. According to Alden, many readers may have grown up on a farm or may now live internationally, and having this resource and being able to provide online access is huge. “We have a lot of members who want to be able to take a walk down memory lane, and they otherwise wouldn’t be able to do so.”

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