John Lawrence’s message from Sept. 6, 2017
I still remember the first extension publication I authored as a new livestock economist at Iowa State: “Electronic Markets for Feeder Pigs” back in 1992. Think of it as eBay for animals. Maybe it wasn’t pure poetry, but it was good research-based information that farmers could use. We printed a couple thousand copies, which were available from the Extension Distribution Center. Back then it was a warehouse, with extra storage offsite. Every publication was available in print, often by the thousands or tens of thousands. How times have changed! Today there still is some warehouse space with tangible, hard copy publications on the shelf, but most of the inventory is online at the Extension Store. Did you know?
- Extension’s eCommerce site began in fall 2001 and was primarily text-based with limited details about available publications. Thumbnail images, descriptions, related products and apparel were added in the mid-2000s, after a full time programmer and data architect joined the staff. Enhancements continue today, and the store partners with ISU Information Technology as needed.
- All of ISU Extension and Outreach’s tangible publications now are warehoused within 4,500 square feet in the Printing and Publications Building on campus. The Garden Calendar (HORT 3027) is the most popular, with approximately 2,500 copies sold each year.
- The Extension Store has 2,000+ unique digital products from all program areas available for free download. In FY17, those publications collectively were downloaded 1.9 million times worldwide. The Iowa Farm Custom Rate Survey (FM 1698) is the most popular digital publication, with 82,500 downloads per year.
- You can check the Extension Store for new, revised or back in stock titles at any time.
- The Extension Store also serves as a fulfillment center for several Iowa Department of Public Health divisions, housing more than 200 tangible titles available exclusively to IDPH staff. Annually about 100,000 copies are distributed within Iowa.
The Extension Store’s five fulltime employees have been with ISU Extension and Outreach for 15+ years, on average, but not because they like the fumes from ISU Printing. They are dedicated to getting research-based information to people in Iowa and around the world. The next time you’re on the north side of campus, stop in to say hello and get a tour, and thank them for their efforts.
One more thing: The ISU Trademark Ofﬁce is sponsoring a contest for county ofﬁces for the ISU/Iowa CyDAY Friday on Sept. 8. The county ofﬁce that shows the most spirit/creativity – AND posts photos to the Iowa State CyStyle Facebook page or emails photos to firstname.lastname@example.org – will receive a limited CyDAY Friday prize. Go Cyclones!
— John D. Lawrence
Iowa State University Interim Vice President for Extension and Outreach