Winter 1990 // Volume 28 // Number 4 // Tools of the Trade // 4TOT1

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An Easy Search...


Sorrel Brown
North Central Region Educational Materials Project
Iowa State University-Ames

A service is available that can provide access to thousands of Extension materials. Whether you need information for clientele, programming, or need to know about existing resources on a particular topic, the North Central Region Educational Materials Project (NCREMP) database contains almost 12,000 Extension references that cover agriculture, home economics, 4-H, and community resource development. With cross-program, interdisciplinary issues programming a reality for Extension educators, having access to a database of materials produced by Extension specialists in the North Central states that covers all program areas can be a helpful tool.

Search requests may be sent to NCREMP by mail, electronic mail, FAX, or telephone and are processed by NCREMP staff. A hard copy of results is then mailed within one week or can be sent through electronic mail. By sending in a request through E-mail, turnaround time can be greatly reduced. Many offices may already have accounts on their university's mainframe that connect to the BITNET network. Simply logon to the mainframe and send a search request to J2.NCR@ISUMVS.BITNET. E-mail is checked each afternoon and a search request form will be E-mailed back asking for pertinent information. Once the form is completed and returned and your account is validated, NCREMP will process your request and E-mail results back. And you don't have to pay any long-distance telephone charges if you use BITNET! If you don't have an account, check out the possibilities with your university.

Search results include all references singled out using appropriate keywords and list title, author, abstract, and format, with a cover letter providing information about ordering copies from the publishing state. If a search request is for a relatively unknown topic for which few references have been produced (for example, bioethics), NCREMP provides alternative sources that can be contacted for more information.

The search service is free to people associated with any of the North Central land-grant universities. Those outside the region or land-grant universities are charged a nominal fee of $4 per search request. Each quarter a listing is printed of all new resources added to the database during the previous quarter. A subscription to this list is available for an annual fee of $5. Since the database is so large and updated daily, a complete printed catalog isn't feasible.

Regional sharing of Extension materials was the impetus for creating NCREMP. Many issues are of common concern in the central states. Educational materials produced in one state can often help specialists in other states planning to develop a resource on the same subject. And in today's climate of issues programming, state and regional boundaries often no longer apply. Circulating such materials keeps Extension staff aware of resources being developed outside their state that may prove useful for clientele or program development.

NCREMP is made up of 13 land-grant universities in the North Central region, which organized in 1976 to establish a formal office in support of regional distribution and review of Extension educational resources. Both written and visual materials are included, software is not.

NCREMP also coordinates circulation of resources submitted by North Central specialists for regional review, which is handled by NCREMP liaisons within each university's publication department. The database includes each state's Extension resources, as well as the almost 400 resources that have passed regional review. With such a large database easily accessed, it's hoped that all educators will be encouraged to avail themselves of information NCREMP can provide. Contact the NCREMP office for more information: B-10 Curtiss, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011 (515-294-8802), FAX 515-294-4715.