The Barnes & Noble Review
Find anything. Well, darned near.
Tara Calishain’s Web Search Garage is one of the smartest and most useful web research guides we’ve ever seen. No surprise, perhaps: Calishain’s ResarchBuzz.com is one of the Web’s handiest research resources (even Time magazine’s noticed it).
Calishain starts off with the “elements” of searching: the techniques, gadgets, and tweaks that’ll help you find what you’re looking for faster, with less of the junk you don’t need. Next, the “principles” of searching: approaches that’ll help you figure out where and how to look. (For example, the Principle of the Reinvented Wheel: whatever you’re interested in, chances are there’s a community of people already interested in it. Find the community, and you’ll find the answers.) Calishain’s “Principle of Salt Grains” chapter even helps you decide whether you can trust what you’ve found, based on a few simple questions you can ask about any page or site (or email chain letter!).
Here, too, are the sources, including plenty you might not have known about (like, for example, the Web’s best obituary databases, or where to find great photos of famous 19th-century Americans). And, finally, here are examples: prefabricated searches that are likely to find exactly what you’re looking for.
So what are you looking for? ZIP codes? Audio clips? Your ex-girlfriend? Your state’s Do Not Call registry? Human experts? Song lyrics? Labor statistics? Look here first, and you’re 90 percent there. Bill Camarda
Bill Camarda is a consultant, writer, and web/multimedia content developer. His 15 books include Special Edition Using Word 2003 and Upgrading & Fixing Networks for Dummies, Second Edition.
The perfect book for the average web user who wants to improve his research skills. I'd put this one in the Christmas stocking for all those people who are getting a new computer or a new broadband connection. That's not to say that the more technical savvy will find nothing in this book, so if you give a copy to someone, either read it first or borrow it back -- you may find it worth enough to get your own copy.
Read an Excerpt
In the last ten years or so I've been fascinated with the Web. And since the Web started getting large enough to require organization, I've been fascinated with how that organization has evolved. From very basic text pages and Big Red Buttons That Don't Do Anything, we've moved to extensive databases, search engines, and online information collections of all sorts. Since I wrote the Official Netscape Guide to Internet Research in 1996, the landscape has changed dramatically.
In 1996 it was possible to maintain a "big picture" idea of resources available online: even if you couldn't track down every last one you had a sense of what was available, where the gaps were, and so on. Now that's impossible. The Internet is growing too quickly. But hey, these are the kinds of problems you want to have, right? A rapidly growing collection of information, with a rapidly growing set of tools for dealing with it.
In 1996 I decided I was crazy about search engines. I loved experimenting with them, learning the syntaxes, trying to figure out how to make them work best. I'm still crazy about them. I'm almost as crazy about trying to teach other people to use the search engines, to help them take advantage of the wealth of information that's appearing online.
Thanks for buying this book. If you, too, get bitten by the search engine bug, join me over at ResearchBuzz.com. There I'll try to keep you up to date with developments in the search engine world.
Thanks for reading.