The University of Misouri Extension's new Web site connects consumers to more than 3,000 Extension offices.

Timely, objective, research-based information and learning opportunities are the focus of the new Cooperative Extension System’s web resource eXtension (www.eXtension.org). An educational partnership between 74 land-grant universities, this Web site connects consumers with professionals in more than 3,000 Cooperative Extension offices.

The groundbreaking eXtension.org is unlike any other search engine or information-based Web site. It’s a space where university content providers can gather to produce new information resources on wide-ranging topics. Available to the general public in addition to students, researchers, clinicians and professors - at any time from any Internet connection - eXtension helps solve real-life problems in real-time. Curious minds can find a range of information including how to calculate their retirement readiness scores, tips to ease credit card debt, how to grow the best tomatoes on the block and advice on setting  a schedule for a newborn.

Even better, if the consumer can’t find pertinent information, there is an Ask the Experts option. The site has 36,000 frequently asked questions in its knowledge base; 4,500 of those are public and more are going public every day. Users can also subscribe to RSS automatic feeds, allowing eXtension to forward updates on topics of interest.

The site currently has 16 resource areas, called Communities of Practice, that consumers can navigate to find answers to their questions. A Community of Practice is typically multi-institutional, multi-state and multi-displinary, bringing the best-of-the-best educational resources to the public.

eXtension is customized with links to Cooperative Extension sites, a nationwide, non-credit educational network. Each state and territory has an office at its land-grant university with a network of local or regional offices. Land-grant universities were founded on the ideals that higher education should be accessible to all, that the university should teach liberal and practical subjects and that the colleges should share knowledge with people throughout their states. University of Missouri and Lincoln University are Missouri’s two land-grant institutions.

For more information, click on www.eXtension.org or contact Cynthia Zluticky, Jackson County program director, University of Missouri Extension, (816) 252-5051, at your local Extension office at 1501 NW Jefferson St., Suite 110, in Blue Springs.