Portable Extension Office for Program Literature Exchange (PEOPLE)

Final Report for EW98-011

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 1998: $41,360.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2003
Matching Non-Federal Funds: $18,400.00
Region: Western
State: Guam
Principal Investigator:
Dr. L. Robert (Bob) Barber, Jr.
University of Guam Cooperative Extension Service
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Project Information

Abstract:
PEOPLE Summary

Regional Extension personnel were surveyed to determine their need for printed extension materials. Regional, national and international publications (primarily digital) were located, frequently digitized into PDF format, and organized into a CD. The CD was disseminated to participating islands, and to hundreds of other individuals and institutions. Based on feedback, the navigation was improved and content substantially increased.

Equipment needs of participating institutions, for print-on-demand capability were supplied. An improved CD was distributed and a website mirroring the CD at www.uog.edu/cals/people was developed. The website and CD update and distribution are supported by Guam Cooperative Extension utilizing local funds.

Project Objectives:
  • 1. To identify, obtain and disseminate literature, in digital format, developed through extension programs in the Pacific and Caribbean regions and the U. S. mainland, that relate to tropical sustainable agriculture issues and practices.2. To institutional capabilities to publish and disseminate information that is uniquely relevant to the region.

    3. To develop staff skills, at each of nine sites, regarding the use of the equipment, software and information resources to enable effective site specific implementation of “print on demand” program literature exchange.

    4. To determine the extent to which guide sheets and other forms of instructional media distributed through out the region has a positive impact on the development of tropical sustainable agriculture in the region.

Introduction:
Background/introduction
  • Most island extension programs are isolated, have limited staff, and limited technical support.
    In the late ’90’s two needs assessments were conducted to determine the nature and needs of island extension programs. One survey was conducted among agricultural professionals on Guam and the other survey among extension agents across the American Pacific. These assessments identified some unique characteristics and needs of small island extension programs:1. Most island extension programs are isolated, have limited staff, and limited technical support.

    2. Internet access is expensive and often unreliable.

    3. Island professionals expressed a very strong desire to have publications relevant to tropical agricultural, gardening, and family consumer issues for use in their extension programs.

    4. These agents, because of their isolation and relatively small numbers, can only produce a limited number of publications and handouts for use in their client education programs. They feel restricted in their ability to deliver extension programs because of this lack of materials.

    4. Due to storage issues, and the fluctuating demand for any given publication, bulk printing is not a feasible option for producing publications for this region.

    It was concluded that a digital extension library that brings all the publications of the American Pacific and publications from the mainland U.S. that would be relevant in a tropical environment, would help agents deliver more effective extension programs.

Education & Outreach Initiatives

Objective:
Description:

Methods

Several series of group and individual interviews were conducted with regional agricultural professionals to determine their subject matter needs for printed extension materials. It was determined that dissemination in digital format (PDF preferred) with regional offices being given print on demand equipment capabilities and supplies for several years of printing. Initially dissemination was planned on zip disks but with the reduced cost of CD burners and CD drive, CD’s with their greater storage capacity and very low cost were chosen. The participating sites were provided with a complete set of the publication in twenty eight 3 inch 3 ring binders were place in each participating site for ready access by extension professionals and clients.

Developing the CD as a website proved to be the simplest for both development purposes and for ease of use by agricultural professionals. The site was developed using Adobe Go Live due to its support for both the Microsoft and Mac operating systems. We find that we have a large number of potential users for each operating system. The site is tested under each operating system before a new release of the PEOPLE CD.

After the release of the first CD the website was placed on the University of Guam website. This allows international access to the information. This has allowed us to receive feedback from many unexpected sources worldwide.

Trainings of the program participants in the use of new equipment the CDs was one on one in nature. Frequently support has been in person at their sites, but a great deal of technical support has been conducted over the telephone and PEACESAT satellite system.

Outreach and Publications

The PEOPLE assisted the staff of many offices and projects in the training and development of projects. Below is a partial list of the publication directly developed or revised, updated and digitized by the project staff. But the impact of the project on the style layout and development of other publications must not be underestimated. The project developed a CD for distribution at nominal cost and GCE continues to support the enhancement and development of this CD as well as the website at www.uog.edu/cals/people this website mirrors the current version of the CD.

List of digitized publications from the PEOPLE project and original source:

“Agricultural Pests of the Pacific: Cluster Caterpillar” (ADAP)

“Agricultural Pests of the Pacific: Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle” (ADAP)

“Agricultural Pests of the Pacific: Coconut Scale” (ADAP)

“Agricultural Pests of the Pacific: Cowpea Aphid” (ADAP)

“Agricultural Pests of the Pacific: Green Scale” (ADAP)

“Agricultural Pests of the Pacific: Hemispherical Scale” (ADAP)

“Agricultural Pests of the Pacific: Melon Aphid” (ADAP)

“Agricultural Pests of the Pacific: New Guinea Sugarcane Weevil” (ADAP)

“Agricultural Pests of the Pacific: Okra Leafhopper” (ADAP)

“Agricultural Pests of the Pacific: Philippine Ladybeetle and Cucumber Ladybeetle” (ADAP)

“Agricultural Pests of the Pacific: Striped Mealybug” (ADAP)

“Agricultural Pests of the Pacific: Taro Hornworm/Taro Hawkmoth” (ADAP)

“Agricultural Pests of the Pacific: Taro Root Aphid” (ADAP)

“Agricultural Pests of the Pacific: Taro Planthopper” (ADAP)

“Banana Aphid” University of Guam

“Conserving Water in the Home and Yard” University of Guam, GCE

“Dodder” University of Guam

“Gausali (Bikkia)” University of Guam, GCE

“Heliconia” University of Guam, GCE

“Yoga (Elaeocarpus joga)” University of Guam, GCE

“CALS Recipes for Mushrooms” University of Guam, GCE

“Agricultural Pests of the Pacific: Bacterial Blight of Mendioka” (ADAP)

“Agricultural Pests of the Pacific: Bacterial Wilt” (ADAP)

“Agricultural Pests of the Pacific: Papaya Foot Rot” (ADAP)

“Agricultural Pests of the Pacific: Papaya Ringspot Virus” (ADAP)

“Agricultural Pests of the Pacific: Powdery Mildew” (ADAP)

“Agricultural Pests of the Pacific: Root-Knot Nematode” (ADAP)

“Agricultural Pests of the Pacific: Southern Blight” (ADAP)

“Agricultural Pests of the Pacific: Sweet Potato Scab” (ADAP)

“Agricultural Pests of the Pacific: White Rust of Kangkong” (ADAP)

“Betel-Nut Palm Care” University of Guam, GCE

“Preliminary Production Costs for Guam Crops, May 1999” University of Guam

“Costs (Important Concepts in Understanding Production Costs)” University of Guam, CES

 

Outcomes and impacts:
Outcomes and Impacts:

Recognizing the regional relevance and importance of the project based on the initial CD the Agricultural Development in the American Pacific (ADAP) program provided two supplemental funding amounts totaling approximately $12,000. More important was the enormous support from the ADAP staff in identifying relevant publications for inclusion on the CD and Website. Under the program many of the out of print ADAP pest series and other publications were updated and converted to digital format. ADAP was instrumental in promotion and dissemination of the project CD throughout the South Pacific and to other international communities. ADAP maintains a link on their website to the PEOPLE project and frequently refers inquiries to the project. We believe this to be a strong indicator of the regional relevance and usefulness of the programs efforts and products.

The project distributed sets of twenty eight 3 inch 3 ring binders containing hard copies of all the publications on the PEOPLE CD and website to each of the participating island territorial extension offices. CD’s were distributed to the regional extension offices and hundreds of other inquiries. Many of the publications developed and updated by the PEOPLE project are included on the ADAP website in addition to the PEOPLE website. In addition to receiving a set of hard copies and CD the island sites were provided with equipment and ink that allows them to print requested copies of any of the publications in whatever quantity needed.

Many of the sites were also provided with the equipment, software and training to enable them to digitize and distribute new and out of print publications from these offices. Several were also provided with additional desktop publishing equipment and software to enhance their abilities in publication development. It is hoped that these seeds will sprout into a greater confidence among the islands in their abilities to generate publications and distribute them regionally digitally.

Project Outcomes

Project outcomes:

The publications disseminated regionally by the PEOPLE have been used as sources of information that have benefited SARE and other extension programs in the region. One SARE grant that funded the development of sustainable agriculture videos utilized the publications as sources for the information that went into developing the video scripts for a range of videos that included such diverse topics as sustainable aquaculture, windbreaks and hedgerows, livestock waste management, agro-forestry and many other topics.

Several agricultural telecommunication and distance education courses have utilized these publications as source texts for these courses. The CD filled with Extension publications is a very powerful tool in enabling isolated island professions to address a wide variety of topics.

Recommendations:

Potential Contributions

Contributions:

The PEOPLE project has given the participating offices a hundred fold increase in the number of available extensions publications for their client and program use. It has also enhanced their abilities to develop and reproduce their own publications. Through the website tropical agricultural professionals worldwide have a source of relevant publications.

Future Recommendations

This project has just begun to scratch the surface in identifying and bringing into digital format the enormous number of USDA funded publications generated in the past 50 years on tropical agriculture that have been allowed to go out of print. There is a great need to identify, update and put into digital format these publications that are relevant for this region. We have found that while, placing the publications on website gives them worldwide distribution, for isolated island producers and professionals compiling CD’s of these information sources is by far the most efficient method of distribution.

In efforts to generate digital publications it is critical to archive the original publication files not just the PDF or HTML end product. One of the strengths in developing and archiving digital publications is the ease of updating and reissuing, but this is only possible if the original files are archived. The project has demonstrated the increase in activities that results from greater access to technical information.

Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.