Ebooks: A New Platform for Extension Outreach

Monday, July 22, 2013
Desert Ballroom: Salons 7-8 (Desert Springs J.W Marriott Resort )
Sarah A. White , Environmental Horticulture, Clemson University, Clemson, SC
Amy F. Fulcher , University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN
Anthony LeBude , North Carolina State University, Fletcher, NC
Steven Frank , Entomology, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC
Frank Hale , Entomology and Plant Pathology, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN
William E. Klingeman , University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN
Craig Adkins , Cooperative Extension, North Carolina State University, Lenoir, NC
Kris Braman , Horticulture, University of Georgia, Griffin, GA
Matthew Chappell , Horticulture, University of Georgia, Athens, GA
Juang-Horng (JC) Chong , Department of Entomology, Soils, and Plant Sciences, Clemson University, Florence, SC
Jeffrey F. Derr , Virginia Tech, Virginia Beach, VA
Winston C. Dunwell , University of Kentucky Research & Education Center, Princeton, KY
Gary W. Knox , North Florida Res & Ed Ctr, North Florida Research & Education Center, Quincy, FL
Mathews L. Paret , University of Florida, Qincy, FL
Joseph C. Neal , North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC
Nicole A. Ward , University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY
Jean Williams-Woodward , Horticulture, University of Georgia, Athens, GA
Alan S. Windham , Dept of Plant Sciences, University of Tennessee, Nashville, TN
Printed books are the traditional method of delivering topic-focused information to a broad audience.  In this increasingly digital world, mobile devices are ubiquitous in the United States and create a portable, lightweight platform for personal libraries.  E-readers, Kindle, and Nook, and tablets, serve as effective platforms for displaying eBook content. eBooks can be an effective resource in the Extension toolbox; facilitating delivery of verbiage and pictorial content, while video content integrated within an eBook can only be displayed on mobile devices using the Apple iOS platform.  An added benefit of eBooks is that of extended, color rich, pictorial content that supplements and enhances information presentation, especially when aiding identification of pest or abiotic/biotic symptomology is one of the intended outcomes of the Extension information.  Developing an eBook is an intensive process.  Co-authors from Clemson University, the University of Tennessee, NC State University, University of Florida, University of Georgia, University of Kentucky, and Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, partnered together in 2012 to write and publish the eBook “IPM for Select Deciduous Trees in Southeastern US Nursery Production” using iBooks Author.  The iBooks Author program was selected because it enabled inclusion of video content and because it simplified layout and organizational considerations for eBooks.  Yet various quirks and efficiencies are innate to iBooks Author and should be examined before its use for authoring and publishing Extension-based information.  These considerations include: platform requirements for inclusion of video content (e.g., Android, iOS, or RIM), template and layout preferences, chapter designations, the iTunes connect account, and multi-author editing tools.  Translating your concept into an eBook is a relatively simple process, but the time spent to develop your concept, write the content, edit copy within iBooks Author, select images, and coordinate multi-author books is extensive. eBooks and printed books have a similar audience base, both using the internet to access information, yet eBook readership is exclusive to those who possess an E-reader or tablet device.  Therefore, consideration of alternative distribution mechanisms is also important to maximize resource availability to a wider audience. Thus, we also released individual files using the portable document format (pdf) for each book chapter, along with a limited number of printed book copies.  To effectively reach our target audience of stakeholders with eReaders or tablets, consideration of technical savvy and mobile device preference is necessary.