The Digging DEEP Project: Library Resources for Cooperative Extension
The 2016 Knight News Challenge on Libraries posed the question,“How might libraries serve twenty-first century information needs.” Librarians from Penn State University Libraries and Schlow Centre Region Library, both in State College, PA proposed better support for our colleagues in Cooperative Extension. Through a grant called “Digging Deep: A Digital Extension Education Portal for Community Growth” we conducted surveys, offered a symposium, and made office visits to better understand your information needs and your research strategies. It became clear quickly that, like so many of us, you seek reliable resources and intuitive organizational strategies to do your job well.
If you are reading this handbook, you know very well that what you do translates the research happening at universities to the people who can apply the research: farmers, families, children, entrepreneurs, and other members of the public. You provide invaluable educational opportunities that advance the quality of life in your county. Finding, organizing, and disseminating the most reliable and current information to the public can be challenging, however.
In an ideal world information-seeking professionals would take full advantage of authoritative, peer-reviewed, current literature and research resources available through Penn State University Libraries to create the articles, blog posts, workshops, presentations, and other learning opportunities used to reach and teach the public. We realize that finding and accessing those resources is not always as simple as it should be. Organizing citations and storing PDFs, JPEGs, tables, and data, can be equally frustrating. In order to make this aspect of your job a little easier, we have developed this handbook.
The information and strategies contained here are the collected work and recommendations of our colleagues in the library field. We want to thank them and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation for the opportunity to help you help others.