Wallace and Jan Olsen, former Senior Research Associate and Director of Mann Library, respectively, conceived the idea of TEEAL in the early 1990s. During their previous travels to developing countries, the Olsens witnessed non-existent, outdated and/or spotty (aka "Swiss cheese") collections of agricultural journals that were the direct result of shrinking library budgets, inconsistent donor funding and increasing subscription costs. Faculty and researchers had access to only print copies of serials that were years, if not decades, out of date, and so often had to conduct a literature review through mailing article requests to colleagues, meaning a thorough review could easily last eighteen months or more. The Olsens believed that long-term improvements in food security and agricultural development would not be possible without giving scientists better access to current research.
While mailing print copies of journals was an impractical and prohibitively expensive solution, and both Internet and local area network access were yet not readily available or reliable in most developing country institutions, compact disc (CD-ROM) media offered an efficient storage and delivery mechanism for hundreds of thousands of full-text articles organized within a database.
The journal titles in TEEAL, considered among the most essential to research and education conducted in the developing world, were first selected by citation analysis and then reviewed by some 600 scholars worldwide. In 1999, the TEEAL Project sold its first "Library in a Box" — 130 journals with 600,000 pages of articles, stored 172 compact discs (CDs) — to the University of Zimbabwe.
In 2005, to keep up with improvements in technology infrastructure in many developing countries, the TEEAL Project introduced a next-generation system that could be operated on a local area network, dubbed LanTEEAL 2.0. Rather than being stored on CDs, the entire database is stored on an external hard drive. LanTEEAL 2.0 has been known simply as TEEAL since the release of an upgraded version in 2009.
The release of the 2012 Update of TEEAL brought with it significant changes. With production of the TEEAL interface being restructured, thanks to the technical staff at Mann Library itself, a redesign of TEEAL was released with the 2012 Update that allowed for much easier installation of TEEAL, including a more robust LAN installation option and a "plug-and-play"-style of installation. These address the issues that were most requested from our subscribers.
The new TEEAL also includes a brand new interface, and the streamlined TEEAL interface is user friendly and simple to use for both searching and browsing. New limiting options also allow for the most fitting results from TEEAL for user research.
As always, annual updates are produced by Mann Library using revenue from sales of TEEAL sets and updates.
- TEEAL: A User Study (PDF, 102KB)
- Dauphiné N, Ochs MA, Joos NK. Bringing scientific literature to the developing world: The Essential Electronic Agricultural Library (TEEAL). Online Information Review 2003;27(1):51-54. doi:10.1108/14684520310462563.
- Vent O. TEEAL and AGORA: Improving Access to Agricultural Journals in Low-Income Countries. Serials Review 2005;31(4):266-269. doi:10.1016/j.serrev.2005.09.009.
- Oduwole AA, Sowole AO. Utilisation and impact of The Essential Electronic Agricultural Database (TEEAL) on library services in a Nigerian university of agriculture. Program 2006;40(2):157 - 167. doi:10.1108/00330330610669271.