Developing a user-cordial online retrieval model strategy to access extension educational materials from a north central region database

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Brown, Martha
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Robert A. Martin
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Agricultural Education and Studies

There is concern that the Cooperative Extension Service (CES) is not implementing electronic communication technologies rapidly enough to effectively compete with other information providers. Anxiety regarding electronic information-accessing strategies must be overcome with appropriate orientation and training so their use becomes routine. Extension personnel need an efficient, easy-to-use method of accessing online data-base in order to comply with the CES mission of assisting people in improving their lives. The purpose of this study was to extend the existing North Central Region Educational Materials Project (NCREMP) information search system by developing an online search strategy that is an easily-used tool for Extension personnel seeking information from electronic sources, and to examine characteristics that promote positive adoption of electronic communication systems among Extension workers. QUERRI is intended to serve as a model for future design of online search strategies relevant to CES professionals;A descriptive approach of a qualitative nature was taken in developing the search strategy. The study was concerned with conditions and practices currently existing in CES--the restructuring that is going on, attitudes held by Extension employees toward electronic information technology, expectations in the usage of such technology, and the effects these expectations have induced. Areas investigated prior to development of the search model were: (1) The level of awareness and use of the NCREMP data-base among CES personnel. (2) The use of online searching systems. (3) The degree of familiarity and acceptance of computer use and computer-based information searching strategies among CES staff;A conceptual framework was formulated before development of the search model that attempted to simulate the intuitive reasoning processes used by an individual in need of information for a specific purpose. The chief emphasis in development of the search model was in ease of use. A questionnaire distributed to CES personnel showed evidence of a lack of awareness of the NCREMP search service, and low understanding of how to search online data-bases. Selected responses helped to focus scripting of menus and Help screens on user-cordiality to ensure positive adoption and implementation of the search model.

Wed Jan 01 00:00:00 UTC 1992