ASSOCIATES (vol. 4, no. 2, November 1997) - associates.ucr.edu
Table of Contents
_The Student's Guide to Doing Research on the Internet_ by Dave and Mary Campbell Addison-Wesley Publishing Company 1997 ISBN: 0-201-48916-3 $14.95 US Reviewed by Bob Farnsworth Senior Library technical Assistant University of North Florida firstname.lastname@example.org As more and more of us find ourselves using the Internet for research and other work-related tasks, we see that there are more and more books that give information about searches. One problem that develops sometimes, though, is that the author of such a book is so immersed in the subject that he/she forgets what it was like to be a "newbie" or beginner in dealing with searches. One book that is easy to read and follow is _The Student's Guide to Doing Research on the Internet_. The authors have used the Internet for years--and are also authors of over 30 best-selling computer books. This particular title is nicely divided into clear sections--and has a minimum of "computerese" terms--which is great for those of us who don't have the dexterity to hold a dictionary in one hand and type with the other! The book is organized into two main parts. The first part discusses tools that you use to access various Internet resources. This section will help you meet, then utilize the various types of connections. Examples and explanations are given of the elements of an Internet connection, the different types of connections, commercial/free connection contacts, etc. Next, electronic addresses are explained--a handy bit of trivia for those who have no idea why the various parts of an address are there. Telnet sessions are next in the explanation--both what they are and how to use them. (A side bit of help...."If you are working late at the library, you might miss your favorite sports games on TV. If you miss the late news, you can get the sports scores if you Telnet to
"). Of course, if that distracts you from your work....don't do it! Next appear the various types of communication--ranging from e-mail in its many forms to Internet Relay Chat (which you may remember has provided live coverage of news events when nothing else was available during wars and disasters). Another section deals with FTP information. We are shown the value of being able to do this type of file transfer--and simple explanations are given of the systems and how to work them. Different types of search engines are investigated next. Care is taken to bring in vocabulary and diagrams in such a way that one doesn't get confused trying to learn some rather involved research methods. The World Wide Web is certainly not neglected. The authors have provided page after page of very clear explanations and diagrams--and have explained why searching and research can be both interesting and a lot of fun on the Web. The second main part of the book is somewhat like a directory. The various chapters in this part are devoted to general research areas or disciplines. Each chapter provides addresses for various sites that can enable the casual or dedicated researcher to find information quickly and easily. There is little in the way of vocabulary that hasn't already been explained in the first part of the volume. However, when there is a chance for confusion, either diagrams or photos of a typical computer screen are used so that the reader can see exactly what should be done to help find out information. The areas covered are quite all-encompassing. There are sections on everything from biology to virtual reality, from international business to medical organizations. The beauty of this section is that such a volume could be kept near the computer in either a public or technical services area--so that necessary sites could be accessed even faster than having to depend on search engines. All in all, this is a volume that has the important "c's" we depend on in our library work--comprehensive information, clear writing, and concise access to needed references. This is one of those books that will get "dog-eared" rather quickly since many people will want to use it for both research--and entertainment. Not a bad thing for any title!