by: Randolph Hock
Since four host computers were first connected in 1969, millions of people have struggled to find information on the Internet. We’ve all been frustrated while searching for information that we know is out there somewhere — we just can’t find it. We can search unsuccessfully on the best Internet sites because we don’t know how to search efficiently. ‘Expert searchers use a combination of skill in search techniques along with knowledge of top sources in multiple subject areas’ (Greg R. Notess in Hock, xv). This book will be a handy reference for anyone who uses the Internet for research, and who needs to search the Web proficiently.
Hock starts by explaining, ‘the “Internet” and the “Web” are not synonymous, although they are frequently used interchangeably’ (p. 1). After describing the difference between the two, Hock provides a brief history of the development of technology that came to be known as the Internet. It was refreshing to learn that there are actually some general Web directories whose contents are hand-picked by humans who ask, ‘Is this site of enough interest to enough people that it should be included in the directory?… Web directories are designed primarily for browsing and for general questions’ (pp. 8-9). And, as with any resource, we must evaluate Internet information for its quality, accuracy, timeliness/currency, objectivity, authority of source, etc.
Some of Hock’s advice will be no surprise to indexers, librarians, and other experienced researchers: consider alternative terms like grammatical variations (e.g. electricity, electrical), synonyms, near-synonyms, or closely related terms (e.g. culture, traditions), and a term and its narrower terms (p. 13). One topic that intrigues me is the ‘Invisible Web’ or ‘Deep Web.’ After pointing out that the Invisible Web contains ‘from 200 to 500 times the content of the visible Web’ (p. 21), Hock provides some great tips on how to find some of the content on the Invisible Web.
Hock covers each of the following topics in depth: Specialized Directories; Search Engines; Groups, Newsgroups, and Forums; An Internet Reference Shelf; Sights and Sounds: Finding Images, Audio, and Video; News Resources; Finding Products Online; and Publishing on the Internet. Each of these topics and tools serve different purposes. And as in any profession, a researcher needs the proper tool to do the job. We might find answers to certain questions in a Newsgroup that we cannot find in more formal references, because Newsgroups serve specific audiences allowing ‘users to communicate with people having like interests, concerns, problems, and issues… [they] allow you to reach people you don’t know and take advantage of their knowledge and expertise’ (p. 133). And the ‘messages that appear in groups are usually more fully archived and, therefore, more retrospectively available’ (p. 134). So you can search the archives of groups with certain keywords to find information that may not appear in other resources.
The Glossary includes helpful definitions of familiar and new terms, and Hock provides a list of all URLs that he references in the book. But it’s the book’s associated web page(FN*) that is the real gem. It provides live links and is so easy to use! Hock keeps the links up-to-date, so they are especially helpful. I couldn’t resist the temptation to try each link that Hock provides, and I was intrigued at the many, many new resources that I found. I will definitely keep this invaluable reference book by my computer, and continue to use many of the URLs that I have already bookmarked. This book and its associated web page are the ultimate tools that many of us have been waiting for. Even experienced and proficient Internet researchers will find many new tips and resources for finding information more efficiently.
There are a few typographical errors, and a few more entries that should have been included in the index (for example, there are many helpful tips in the sidebars, so I would include these in the index to help readers find them more easily), but the overall quality of the book is very good. I highly recommend this book!
(Review by: The Indexer v. 25 no. 4 (October 2007) p. 292-3)
Disponible en BAE: ZA 4230 .H63 2008