It’s been 25 years since EDIS, UF/IFAS Extension’s electronic publications library, was rolled out to the public. We’re celebrating with a new launch, a new look, and some exciting new features under the hood.
Although EDIS has been around for 25 years, not everybody knows what it stands for. A quick search on the internet shows that EDIS can mean
- Emergency Department Information System
- Electronic Distributorless Ignition System
- École Départementale d’Incendie et de Secours
- Educational and Developmental Intervention Services
Or it could be this guy:
But to millions of people who have turned to UF/IFAS Extension for help with crop production, weed identification, garden pests, or controlling their type-2 diabetes, EDIS is known as the Electronic Data Information Source.
Or is it?
Depending upon who you ask, EDIS has been spelled out as the Extension Digital Information Service, the Electronic Data Information System, or sometimes the Every Day Information Source.
In an effort to make things simpler, we are changing the EDIS website’s official brand to “Ask IFAS.” This is, after all, what everyone does whenever they use EDIS. They are essentially asking IFAS and its 860 research, teaching and Extension faculty for help with finding solutions to their problems.
Should I get my soil tested? Ask IFAS. How do I sell my produce directly to consumers? Ask IFAS. Where can I find 4-H summer programs for my kids? Ask IFAS.
Ask IFAS is more than a new name. Beginning April 27, we’re launching an updated online experience, with a new look, mobile-friendly design, and improved navigation to make Extension publications easier to find. Each article on Ask IFAS includes a side panel that provides added information about authors, IFAS departments, and related topics. More features are planned that will allow users to build their own libraries of Extension publications, submit queries to authors, and personalize their learning experience. The ultimate goal is to give users greater access to IFAS resources and more control over how they use them.
The best thing is that most people won’t have to wait for the change. The website won’t be down for repairs; the new URL will be “ask.ifas.ufl.edu”, but the old URL will get you there, too. Users will just wake up on April 27, log in to EDIS the same way they have for the past 25 years, and Ask IFAS will be ready to answer their questions.
Behind the scenes, the new platform will also improve the experience for authors publishing to EDIS. The editorial and review process for EDIS publications has been streamlined. New capabilities will be added during the next year, including user management dashboards to simplify sunset reviews and year-end reporting. New publications will continue to be added to the open journal system (OJS), which shares EDIS publications with other refereed scholarly publications.
On May 7, EDIS librarian Diana Hagan will present a tour of the new EDIS system as part of the Extension Symposium. Beginning May 10, IFAS Communications will be conducting information sessions about Ask IFAS during their upcoming Boot Camp. Trainings in using the EDIS publishing dashboard will be offered beginning in August.
Extension publications have come a long way in the past 25 years, from printed factsheets delivered by mail to multimedia online resources shared across social media. Ask IFAS represents a new chapter in our story.