Recognizing the need to reduce barriers to information access on ECHOcommunity to better serve the mission of ECHO, ECHO documents are now accessible without requiring an ECHOcommunity user sign-in. Open Access has been in place all along for all Community-provided documents and links referenced in ECHOcommunity.
We continue to encourage membership registration in ECHOcommunity to allow us to efficiently communicate valuable information and connect people. Members will be notified of new documents such as Development Notes and Technical Notes. Only members can order seeds and post comments and questions in ECHO Conversations. Registration is required also to use the Event registration within ECHOcommunity. Members will be notified of Forums and Conferences. Those who do not register should visit ECHOcommunity.org frequently to discover upcoming meetings.
There are many types of resources available within ECHOcommunity, some of which are researched and produced by ECHO staff members, but also many that are referrals to resources available through ECHO partners and others. Excellent resources are often available from outside sources and we do our best to direct our network members to notable selections. ECHO in-house resources include ECHO Development Notes (EDN), ECHO Technical Notes, ECHO Best Practice Notes, ECHO Research Notes and Plant Information Sheets. Presentations from ECHO Conferences are also provided. Many of the plenary sessions are provided as complete video presentations.
Content for ECHOcommunity is constantly being reviewed for relevance and to meet particular needs within the ECHOcommunity network. We make an effort to discover practical answers to questions that are raised and to provide evidence of the science and research supporting the practical answers.
ECHO is happy to consider managing external content for any of our partners, with full-credit and ownership retained by the partner.
The navigation section of ECHOcommunity lists collections of resources that are meant to assist the user in getting a fast start on finding the resources needed. These collections are listed as topics and groupings such as journals and books. Most of the collections are linked to Interest Group forums to facilitate discussion among network members (see ECHO Conversations below).
The ECHOcommunity search engine enables more complete results in searches for particular subjects. The search software is essentially the same as that used by Amazon® for the Amazon product search. A left-side bar allows refinement of the search, for example by language, by tag, by resource type (article, book, video, et al).
In addition to a straight-up search, the software also provides a short list at the end of each resource to give the user ‘you may wish to also look at’ additional resources.
ECHOcommunity.org has been designed as a language-first website, meaning that we give emphasis to making resources easily accessible in multiple languages when the translation of a resource is available. 10 languages are supported directly in the navigation and other languages are added for content support as needed. The languages supported are listed under the tab ‘By Publication’ to allow the user to pull up a list of all materials contained in ECHOcommunity that are translated in a particular language.
ECHO Conversations (forum)
A new online forum provides greater opportunities for member-to-member interaction. More and more members are making use of ECHO Conversations as a way to ask and answer critical questions. Submission of questions and answers requires sign-in by registered members, but all users can view the content without sign-in.
Multi-platform and Worldwide Accessibility
ECHOcommunity.org is designed for use across all known devices and operating systems with a strong emphasis on allowing mobile devices the best opportunity possible to access resources across low-bandwidth internet providers.
ECHOcommunity.org is hosted on Amazon Web Services (AWS) servers which provide content delivery at strategic points around the world to minimize the time it takes to retrieve information.
RSS (Really Simple Syndication or Rich Site Summary) feeds have been used for a long time to ‘feed’ update information to specialized apps (readers) on mobile devices or dedicated websites. RSS feeds may also be included as part of a website or other internet-enabled system (browser, email client, etc). An example of a ‘reader’ would be the app Feedly which we use on our mobile devices. Feedly.com is the corresponding website and can be an easier interface to set up Feedly registration and links. There are many other RSS apps and tools, however. Feedly is just an example.
ECHOcommunity is RSS enabled for Conversations (the ECHO forum) and story updates. RSSLatest delivers a listing of the latest resources added to ECHOcommunity.org. The links below can be used on your RSS reader.
http://edn.link/rsslatest (available soon)