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How to Use This Site

This page provides basic guidance for finding information on the Ask IFAS site. Take a Test Drive to explore new design features of the site in detail.

The Ask IFAS website is primarily comprised of two types of content: about 6,500 EDIS articles and a couple thousand organizational pages for the topics, authors, and UF/IFAS publishing units associated with those articles. Here are some strategies to quickly get to the best information.

Pro Tip: Click the Ask IFAS logo anywhere to return to the Home page

Use the search box

Probably the most straightforward way to navigate is to use the search box at the top of every page and choose from the results. Try searching on “vanilla” and see what comes up.

  • Results with publication numbers (e.g., “HS1348/HS1348: Vanilla Cultivation…) are articles.
  • Person names (e.g., Chambers, Alan) will be people who have written articles relevant to your search.
  • Results with subjects (e.g., Vanilla or “Ask IFAS: Vanilla”) will be topic pages with lists of publications and links to related topics.

The Advanced Search is helpful if you know the title, authors, publication number or UF/IFAS publishing department of an article and want to search on those elements.

Use the “hamburger”

Ask IFAS hamburger menu This little icon in the upper right corner of every page is called the “hamburger menu.”

The Ask IFAS hamburger has four ingredients: Home and Search are common across UF/IFAS websites (and most other sites using this type of menu). The two special ingredients for Ask IFAS are quick links to an Experts index and a Topic index.

  • You can use the Experts index to quickly locate an author. Let’s find our vanilla expert, Alan Chambers, by clicking on the Experts link in the hamburger. You can either start typing a string from his name in the small search box or select the first letter of his last name in the A-Z listing.
  • The Topic index works the same way: select Topics in the hamburger menu and find “vanilla.”

Find publications by topic area

This approach is helpful if you aren’t quite sure what you are looking for. EDIS articles are arranged within a network of related topics, which you can follow like a map to narrow your search down from a broader subject. At the bottom of every page is a grid of blocks to serve as starting points.

The general content areas are Agriculture, Natural Resources, 4-H Youth Development, Lawn & Garden, Family Resources. These are not exclusive menus, so if you are looking for something that could be in more than one area, you can find it by many different paths. Indexes & Collections will take you to the Expert and Topic indexes that are also linked from the hamburger menu, as well as an index of publishing departments.

You can be very efficient using a combination of these methods. Try searching first, then you can follow the links from a topic or article to move on to related topics. You can always start a new search if you come across a better keyword along the way.

Reading the article side panel

EDIS Articles on the Ask IFAS site feature a new side panel with information about the article. On narrow screens, the panel will shift to the bottom of the article. You may find the following information in this panel:

  1. IFAS Peer Review endorsement. This indicates this version of the article has been published in the EDIS journal after blind peer review and approval. Some older articles may predate this process, so lack this endorsement. Translations and program materials that are based on peer-reviewed source content may also be published on EDIS but are not themselves considered peer-reviewed.
  2. PDF Download button. Every article on Ask IFAS is available in PDF format as well as HTML.
  3. Publication #. IFAS Publication numbers may differ from the number used in the URL (the Digital Library Number or DLN) but many are the same. Some of these numbers have been in use on paper and online versions of the same information for decades, and some are referred to in state legal and regulatory codes.
  4. Date: This is the date the current version was made available online.
  5. Links to People and Publishing Units. You can follow these links to find out more about the authors and publishers and find a list of their other articles.
  6. Related topics. These topic pages will list other publications on the same topic.
  7. DOI (Digital Object Identifier): This is a permanent link to the EDIS journal page for this article content. Use the DOI when citing an article on Ask IFAS as a reference. Even if the article is updated or no longer relevant and changes on Ask IFAS, the article linked to by the DOI will never change. The EDIS journal page will have more academic information, access to older versions of the article, and other works by the same authors.
  8. Category Icons. These icons provide a quick indication of the type of article you are viewing (see tables below)
  9. Contacts. The name of the UF/IFAS Experts who are the contact persons for the article.

Look for adjustments to this panel as we add functionality.

Ask IFAS Icons

Publication Types

Fact Sheet Fact Sheet
Organism ID Organism ID
Management Management
Program Material Program Material
Translation
Curriculum Curriculum

General Topic Areas

Agriculture Agriculture
Natural Resources Natural Resources
4-H Youth Development 4-H Youth Development
Family Resources Family Resources
Lawn & Garden Lawn & Garden
Program Development Program Development
Disaster Preparation and Recovery Disaster Preparation and Recovery
Indexes & Collections Indexes & Collections

Audiences

Academic Academic
General Public
Commercial Commercial
4-H/Youth 4-H/Youth
Homeowner Homeowner