Hilgardia was the primary technical publication of UC Agriculture and Natural Resources (UC ANR) for 70 years. The journal was established in May 1925 and succeeded the Technical Paper series which ceased with issue No. 20 (April 1925). Although production ceased in 1995, the 900-plus issues include classic research making up the cornerstones of agricultural, environmental and nutritional science. These issues are frequently still cited in scientific literature. Many of the classical pieces of work of UC faculty in Viticulture and Enology were published in Hilgardia. However, these important foundational pieces of work were in danger of becoming ‘dark literature’, which is any literature not available on the internet. In modern times, large numbers of people, including grape growers and wine makers, rely almost entirely on web-based sources of information. Our UC Davis students can graduate without ever having held a book from our excellent library in their hands. Today, most searches in our library by students are done online.
Click HERE to search Hilgardia and access the 71 articles included in the Wine and Grape collection. Visit the Hilgardia website by clicking HERE.
Knowing that the demand for web-based information will only grow, I and my colleagues were very concerned that the wealth of information in Hilgardia might be lost some day. At best, it was highly inaccessible in bound journals, many of which were in storage. We reached out to the staff of California Agriculture, the publication of UC’s Agricultural and Natural Resources Division which had ultimately replaced Hilgardia. They still have the stewardship of the remaining copies of Hilgardia and they are also experts on digitalization. They were excited by the project but could not provide funding. As a result, I formed a fund raising committee to make this project possible. The Lodi Winegrape Commission was one of our Platinum Donors, making it possible to send the wine and grape collection to the ‘front of the line’ for digitalizing.
The Lodi Winegrape Commission is proud platinum level sponsor (financial contributions of $5,000 or more) of Hilgardia’s Wine and Grape Collection. The Commission’s Research and Education Committee believes Hilgardia, in its new digital form, is a valuable resource for Lodi winegrowers, the industry as a whole, and for researchers working to advance the scientific understanding of viticulture and enology.
Axel Borg (Librarian, Biological/Agricultural Sciences Reference Department) of the UC Davis University Library was able to arrange for the donation of a complete bound set of Hilgardia for scanning. This was essential because the volumes were actually sent to India for scanning. (Three full sets of the journal remain in the library today.) Because we had bound volumes, it was much easier to maintain the organization of all the issues.
The Hilgardia website is now up and the entire series of publications is digitized and online (Click HERE). Hilgardia is new freely available to scholarly and lay readers. Searchable pages display each monograph’s abstract or first page, author information and full citation list. Each of the 972 articles link to the full-text publication, which is downloadable as a high-resolution, searchable PDF. There is also a ‘Browse Collections’ feature with a subcategory feature that includes an area for ‘Wine and Grape’ articles.
I hope that this resource will be of great use to all of us who care about applied viticulture and enology research. In particular, I would like to thank the Lodi Wine Commission for being one of the first groups to step up and fund this important project.