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  • Author or Editor: Howard W. Beck x
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A large horticultural database and an electronic retrieval system for extension education programs were developed using compact disk-read only memory (CD-ROM) and World Wide Web (WWW) as the medium for information delivery. Object-oriented database techniques were used to organize the information. Conventional retrieval techniques including hypertext, full text searching, and expert systems were integrated into a complete package for accessing information stored in the database. A multimedia user interface was developed to provide a variety of capabilities including computer graphics and high resolution digitized images. Information for the CD-ROM was gathered from extension publications that were tagged using the standard generalized markup language (SGML)-based document markup language (International Standards Organization, 1986). Combining funds from the state legislator with grants from the USDA and other institutions, the CD-ROM system has been implemented in all 67 county extension offices in Florida and is available to the public as a for-sale CD-ROM. Public access is also available to most of the database through the WWW.

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The TFRUIT·Xpert and CIT·Xpert computerbased diagnostic programs can quickly assist commercial producers, extension agents, and homeowners in the diagnosis of diseases, insect pest problems and physiological disorders. The CIT·Xpert system focuses on citrus (Citrus spp.), whereas the TFRUIT·Xpert system focuses on avocado (Persea americana Mill.), carambola (Averrhoa carambola L.), lychee (Litchi chinensis Sonn.), mango (Mangifera indica L.), papaya (Carica papaya L.), and `Tahiti' lime (Citrus latifolia Tan.). The systems were developed in cooperation with research and extension specialists with expertise in the area of diagnosing diseases, disorders, and pest problems of citrus and tropical fruit. The systems' methodology reproduces the diagnostic reasoning process of these experts. Reviews of extension and research literature and 35-mm color slide images were completed to obtain representative information and slide images illustrative of diseases, disorders, and pest problems specific to Florida. The diagnostic programs operate under Microsoft-Windows. Full-screen color images are linked to symptoms (87 for CIT·Xpert and 167 for TFRUIT·Xpert) of diseases, disorders, and insect pest problems of citrus and tropical fruit, respectively. Users can also refer to summary documents and retrieve management information from the Univ. of Florida's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences extension publications through hypertext links. The programs are available separately on CD-ROM and each contains over 150 digital color images of symptoms.

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