Providing Extension Information Electronically—Easing the Transition From a Paper-Based System

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  • 1 Department of Horticultural Sciences, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843-2133

Cooperative Extension has relied heavily on the distribution of printed materials to accomplish its mission of providing research-based educational materials to agricultural producers and consumers. As the costs of print media have escalated and budgets have been reduced, Extension has continually sought more efficient and effective alternatives. World Wide Web information servers are central to this task, since they are relatively inexpensive to set up and operate, and can deliver high-quality materials for on-screen viewing or printing on demand. Recent developments (specifically the WebTV network) indicate the Web to be the medium of choice for Extension delivery systems. In addition to providing electronic versions of publications, slide shows, and video clips, most Web browsers also support e-mail and interactive forms for obtaining information from the client. Analysis of Web server logs and guest registers can be used to determine client use patterns to address issues of access and accountability. The current and next generations of most word processing, page layout, and presentation software offer Web-ready layout as one saving option.

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