"Provides expert tips and techniques based on the authors' extensive Internet researching experience."
Presents information on new resources and technologies.
"Covers plug-ins, helper applications, URLs, and protecting privacy online."
"Discusses how to remove names from address lists, locate people, acquire digital certificates, and avoid the spread of personal information."
"Offers professional techniques for accomplishing extensive Internet research projects by a noted Internet expert."
"Covers push technology (Web information delivered directly to the desktop via channels), including PointCast, Internet Explorer, and In-Box Direct."
Tara Calishain (Raleigh, NC) owns CopperSky Writing and Research. Besides the Official Netscape Guide to Internet Research, she has authored the Official Netscape Messenger & Collabra Book. She also writes for a variety of computer publications, including boot and C-Net's Gamecenter.
|Publisher:||Ventana Communications Group, Incorporated|
|Product dimensions:||7.39(w) x 9.23(h) x 1.19(d)|
Read an Excerpt
Johannes Gutenberg didn't have a clue. When he set the last lines of type for his 1454 printing of the Bible, he couldn't have known about everything that would come later--AA Milne and Pablo Neruda, the Communist Manifesto and Danielle Steele. The values, needs, and dissentions of hundreds of cultures, distilled into a few handfuls of type and a sprinkling of punctuation marks.
Gutenberg was the first to liberate information. He made owning collections of information affordable. He brought movable type to the Western world and at the same time created a revolution of the mind throughout all Europe, widening horizons and initiating literacy among the non-aristocratic public.
His invention also created the need for writers--people to feed the pipeline that he made, people to package information into the format that he publicized. Unfortunately, writing became, and remains to some, an "elite" activity that requires inbred talent or a bolt of divine lightning. It takes several steps to get a book published, and sometimes a large sum of money. Gutenberg created an inexpensive method of compiling information, but not for creating or distributing it.
Now we have the Internet. It is a pipeline much like Gutenberg's, only on a much more massive scale. With the creation of the WWW, the Internet has gained the easy-to-use interface it needs to become widely-used by all kinds of people at all education levels. The critical difference is that it's as easy to create content as it is to access content.
In a way, the Internet is reverse-Gutenberg. Instead ofmovable type, we have "type movable"; one copy of a newsletter, book, or magazine can be circulated literally millions of times. Better yet, it can be archived for later retrieval..
What does it mean, when everyone can create sets of information that can be reproduced an infinite number of times all over the world? First of all, it means that the amount of information available to everyone is going to increase by a scale unimaginable. And what happens when the supply of a commodity increases? Right; the value of the commodity drops. And so it is with writing.
.... sort of. Writing is a subjective commodity, the value of which varies widely from person to person. Still, there will be a measurable increase in the amount of information available, and it will be such a large increase that it will be impossible to avoid an increase in the amount of valuable information available to any one person (unless one has absolutely no interest in anything).
In the face of this tide of information, the current generation and surviving generations before it find themselves ill-equipped to make sense of it. They have the wrong skill.
Our educational system prides itself on teaching children to write, to express themselves articulately in print. This is admirable, and quite understandable when the commodity of written information was forced to go through a very expensive and narrow pipeline; many, many students are taught to write, and relatively few grow up to feed the pipeline and bring the commodity of printed material to those who enjoy reading. Now the pipeline is huge. Almost anyone can put his or her materials on the Internet to be read. Writing enables one to add to the flow of information, but not to harness the stream of materials constantly moving on the Internet.
Now is the time to deliberately advance the evolution of a skill that is usually only taught in higher-level courses, a skill that will enable future students to evaluate the materials circulating in the pipeline and make the most out of what they see. In its simplest form, the skill is called reading.
Theoretically we are all taught to read in elementary school. We sound out words, get together in groups and follow the adventures of Dick and Jane, and gradually move up to Hemingway and Parker. However, the reading taught at this level is merely the interpretation of symbols. It is STOP and GO and THE CAT SAT ON THE MAT, but it is not understanding the material, it is not any kind of criticism, it is not a knowledge of how different pieces of writing go together.
The understanding of how different things link together is the linchpin of the new reading skill. Fragments of information will be available everywhere. It will be up to the reader to catalogue this information, evaluate it for relevance, and, most important of all, connect it to other fragments of information in order to create new information that has a very high subjective value to him or her (and hopefully some concrete usefulness.)
I am not calling for the abolition of writing courses. What I am calling for is the understanding that writing should now be the secondary skill. It used to be that reading was the secondary skill; one learned to read in grade school and from then on through college. The emphasis was on writing; perfecting spelling and grammar skills, learning proper form, etc.
I feel that a more proper education would be reading in grade school, a couple of years of writing in order to learn to communicate clearly, and then nothing but reading. Reading for thorough comprehension, not just to spit back a temporary understanding. Reading to remember later and link to a new piece of information. Reading to understand and empathize with a different culture, a different experience, a different need, a different perspective (all things readily available on the worldwide Internet).
In short, reading as an experience of depth, designed to change one subtly with every paragraph, every new word, every discovered fact. Readers will be needed at all levels of the Internet to comb through information and organize it before passing it on to the next level of readers, until it finally gets to the "general public"; those who have specific and narrow needs and rely on the readers to correctly evaluate and filter information before delivering it to them. They are the "end-users", they only want the gold. They are not the readers who pan the information stream, who find the gold but also find dirt, diamonds, and dynamite.
The pipeline of words has been unleashed; the rare commodity now is time. It is only through a new set of skills and understanding that humans will be able to harness and tame the tide that we add to minute by minute.
Table of Contents
Part I Overview Of The Internet And Internet Tools
Chapter 1 The Internet Research Overview
A World Wide Web Overview
A Whale Of A Technology
Should I Burn My Library Card?
The Big So What
The Future Of The Internet
Chapter 2 Configuring Netscape Communicator
Chapter 3 Prepare To Research: Plug-ins And Telnet
Plug-ins For Research
Chapter 4 Helper Applications
Using The Internet
Handling Information Post-Internet
Who Needs A Paper Trail?
Chapter 5 Ten Friendly Tips For Internet Research
I. Search Wisely
II. Keep Time On Your Side
III. Use Every Scrap Of Information
IV. Attack Your Research Problem From Many Different Angles
V. Don't Be Afraid To Guess
VI. Resist The Temptation To Get Distracted
VII. Mark Your Trail
VIII. Ask For Help
X. Use The Information Responsibly
Part II Using The Different Aspects Of The Internet
Chapter 6 Making The Most Of Mailing Lists
Accessing Mailing Lists: Using Messenger
Accessing Mailing Lists: List Servers And How They Work
Government Information Online
Government Information By State
Finding Federal Government Resources Online
Chapter 13 International Resources Online
International Governments Online
International Media Resources
Chapter 14 Finding Folks Online
Finding E-mail Addresses
Finding Phone Numbers And Paper Addresses
Genealogy On The Internet
Chapter 15 Finding Business And Professional Resources Online
Business Information Available On The Internet
Professional Organizations On The Web
Finding Offline Contact Information Online
Finding Online Businesses
Resources For Getting Your Dream Job
Chapter 16 Resources For Student Research
Library Card Catalogs
Ask An Expert
Other Subject Sites
Chapter 17 Up-To-The-Minute News And Information
General News Sources
Newspapers, Newspapers, Newspapers
Magazines And Journals
Live Events Online
Personalized News Service
Part IV Internet Research Issues
Chapter 18 Getting The Truth: Legends, Facts, And Frauds
Verifying Data Found Online
Chapter 19 Fee-Based Databases: When Should You Pay?
Advantages Of Fee-Based Databases
Disadvantages Of Fee-Based Databases
A Few Good Pay Databases
Other Pay Services
Chapter 20 Help! How Do I Keep Up?
Rules Of Thumb For Keeping Up Online
Resources For New Stuff On The Internet
Chapter 21 Protecting Yourself: Privacy On The Internet
Using Your Brain
Encryption: Making A Code
Getting Out Of The Databases
Protecting Your Kids
Part V Internet Research For Scholarly Types
Chapter 22 Archiving: Keeping Track Of Research Projects
Analyzing Your Research Needs
How To Create And Organize Your Archive
What To Archive
Maintaining Your Archives
Chapter 23 Moving Information Around
Copyright Resources On The Internet
Pulling Information Off The Web
Working With HTML Documents
Chapter 24 Citing Electronic Information
General Tips For Citing Your Sources
Do The Cite Thing
Other Sites For Information On Citation
Chapter 25 Giving your Research Back To The Internet
Evaluating Your Research Piece
Putting Your Materials On Usenet Or Mailing Lists
Taking It Offline: Resources For Writers And Publishers
The Reverse-Gutenberg Revolution: The Need For A New Expertise