Annual Report, Berkley Meeting. Aug. 1915

Material Information

Annual Report, Berkley Meeting. Aug. 1915
Series Title:
Writings and Speeches 1891-1920
Rolfs, Peter Henry
Rolfs, Peter Henry
Publication Date:
Physical Location:
Articles, Speeches and Other Writings
19. Annual Report, Berkley Meeting. Aug. 1915


Subjects / Keywords:
Agricultural extension work -- Florida.
Agriculture -- Florida -- Experimentation.
Agriculture -- Study and teaching -- Florida.
Florida Cooperative Extension Service.
University of Florida. Agricultural Experiment Station.
University of Florida. Herbarium.
Rolfs, Peter Henry


Rolfs' discussion about how to write an annual report for the work done at the Agricultural Experiment Station

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Holding Location:
University of Florida Archives
Rights Management:
Copyright Board of Trustees of the University of Florida
Resource Identifier:

UFDC Membership

Peter Henry Rolfs
University Archives

Full Text
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'P. H. Rolfs, Florida.

The views expressed by different directors as to what con-

stitutes a correct annual report from an Agricultural Experiment

Station are not so various. A large majority of the directors

will admit that the *iia-il _irt should contain a general state-

ment as~ to the work that is being carried on in the Station, the

funds available, changes in personal, changes in organization, the

noting of new buildings being constructed oar a~smqt and^valuable

apparatus or equipment, as well as the the

year. However, when these ideals are put into/ptit the results

- are extremely variable,ranging all the way from those stations -

h a 9E811&d where one looks in vain for an annual report to the

other extreme, where the annual report is made up ai~...a.m "ty

of technical papers, masses of detail that are bewildering and a

republication of all the bulletins of the year. Somewhere between

these ~e"a. extremes we will Mai i find the ideal annual report



The correct annual report should contain a brief, concise but

clear history of the doings of the Experiment Station during the year.
This would include progress of the work, changes in the Staff, the

fiscal report, new work er f ne undertaken and the publica-

tions of the year,
It would seem advisable at the present time to go one step

further thm ...-L t a ,, and include in

the annual report a brief outline of the studies and statement,of

the work that has been taken up, project if you please, during

the year. The value of such publication becomes apparent to every

director. ti hi u it becomes increasing-

ly more difficult for ft=. to become intimately acquainted with all

of the activities of the BEperiment Station workers of the United

States, even if it is possible to be intimately acquainted with all

of the problems taken up by his own staff. Such a statement would

enable $ person/interested in a particular problemAto know what other

Stations were doing along the same or similar lines. It would

make it possible to avoid unnecessary duplication of work and would

also enable the workers to hold conferencesAby correspondence, and

be of mutual assistance to one another. Up to the present time

there has been very little mi-t'nA r nI.-t.- j between different

Experiment Stations ~-tni L ,-;tt-tant excepting in a few in-

stances where these institutions have been located within short dis-

tances of each other. It is true that such publicity would enable

the unscrupulous -- if such there be in ta scientific work -

to take more or less advantage of what their colleagues were doing

and make an apparent showing where real work was wanting. This,

however, would seem to be one of the prices we have to pay for in-

creasing^efficiency our work. There would seem to be no more

Sfor holding the work we are doing as a secret from other

Experiment Station workers than there would be for the workers in

the Department of Agriculture to hold as a secret the work that is

being carried forward in the Department.

One step in advance that would seem to be advisable in con-

nection with the annual report would be the publishing of a list

of teM technical papers ooks and otherA material printed during

the year *by members of the staff. Some difficulty miaht be en-

countered in this Its, since the editor would probably have to

blue pencil a great many newspaper articles and press bulletins.

The technical papers published in scientific journals could well

be noted by a brief abstract. JMch valuable material is now

being lost for the want of such information. The Experiment

Stations with very few exceptions are unable to have the use of

a thoroughly classified library and up-to-date card catalogue.

It is true that the Experimat Station Record is an unusually

excellent source for this information. It does not, however,

reach the constituency that the annual report reaches. The

readers Of the annual report in the State are to a large extent

ungaare of the existence of such a publication as the Experiment y

Station Record.

The preparation of the annual report is probably one of

the most irksome duties that the average member of the staff per-

forms d- ijai y re... It is, however, quite true that

when one has collected the data necessary and has brought togeth-

er many tables of figures then the work is only half done since

the organic law creating the Experiment Station directs that these

institutions shall acquire and diffuse useful agricultural infor-

mation. The acquiring, therefore, is only half of the work, and

the diffusing of the information, according to the organic law is

limited to the publishing of bulletins and annual reports.

The most difficult task that the Experiment Station/has to

perform is that of bringing together the details of his work and

*4* this in a reasonable and correct manner. During the

process of "acquiring" the knowledge he has been so busily en-

gaged and so thoroughly interested in his work that he forgets

all about etme g~a Erery active Experiment Station worker

has no end of details to perform every day, frequently to the ex-

haustion of his physical as well as mental strength. To dis-

sociate himself, afg from his general ea fr

d~bttia becomes

SThe very nature of his workc,4ta

contemplates that when a certain amount of labor has been performed

I f shall disociate himself from the rest of the world

and study over the problem in hand with the greatest minuteness

and the utmost concentration. It is not unusual for a beginner

in the Experiment Station work to spend nine or ten, mPefF

wtasw months in exacting work and rigid discipline to duty and

then. expect to write up his annual report in a sort of free hand

dictation to a stenographer. 'he most ser us faulty to

b/ e found with a a:L report embody endles detail and a

large amount technical da a appears to be that the writer has

failed to see at all clearly the bear-i of thi mass of labor to

the real pro lem at hand. 'r if he d es see th pre clearly

and also see clearly what e results f th are he

fails to mne a concise statement of t results f his work end

leaves the leader of his per in a so t of hazy tate of mind or

else require sAthat the r er should tudy seven al pages of tables

and for ae to find ou just what e result pf the work has been.*

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MI& r-1 Mron. 7 The writing of a correct annual

report of the work done during the year and a proper digesting of

the material obtained is fully as important, if not more import-

ant, than the preparation of bulletins for publication. Yet

after examining many annual reports the same amount of care does not

seem to have been exercised in placing the material 1f1 t saat

eapSts- clearly before the reader. The annual report is the one*

place in which should be published the results of experiments that

have turned out to be of a negative nature. WithAthe + advent of

thtit 1.t-r fnr hnian"llng ipoLtiuw tlie aiual rcernrt~a ari--faT g

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