Web Search Garage Paperback – 12 Aug 2004
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From the Back Cover
Best-selling author and research expert Tara Calishain offers her insider tips and tricks for web searching in this title from Prentice Hall PTR's Garage Series. The book begins with an in-depth look at search engines and other online tools such as browsers. It describes several principles of web searching to help you leverage the scope of the Internet to discover information. The book also covers specific topic areas of Internet searching, both domestically and internationally. Finally, Web Search Garage includes a special technical support section to teach you how to find the support solutions you need on the Internet.
Specific topics covered include
- Search engines
- The principles of web searching
- Searching for news, jobs, and local information
- Finding images and audio on the web
- Searching for people
- Genealogy research
- Consumer help
- Drugs and medical information
- Kid-safe searching
Whether you're a newbie or an Internet search guru, Web Search Garage is a valuable resource for using the Internet wisely to find the information you're looking for. Calishain's thorough explanations and examples, combined with her entertaining wit will help you fine-tune your skills and search the Internet to find convenient solutions.
About the Author
About The Author
Tara Calishain is the editor of ResearchBuzz, a weekly newsletter on Internet searching. She's also a regular columnist for SEARCHER and has written for a variety of other publications. Her author/co-author credits include Google Hacks and Official Netscape Guide to Internet Research.
Top Customer Reviews
I have to admit i am a less than average programmer, but with this book i am learning some inciteful information that i never picked up the first time around.
I suggest reading this book if you want to brush up on your skills or just get started. I'm just hoping they bringa C++ version out, as i would love to see one.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
For experienced net researchers and the search-engine savvy among us, the book may well not live up to the promise, though for a large number of `net users out there it may be just the thing. Where Calishain's previous book, Google Hacks, covered one search engine in great depth in a fairly technical way, this book covers the entire topic of web research in a more friendly manner and language, leaving out the more technical topics of APIs and programming interfaces to spend more time covering advanced search syntaxes and off-the-beaten path search engines and directories.
Calishain has for quite a while written well-researched, informative articles on search engines and research for her weekly newsletter and website ResearchBuzz and the time she has spent on the topic and writing experience have informed this volume. She starts out with the absolute basics, the difference between a search engine (Google) and a searchable subject index (Yahoo) before going on to cover how to get the best out of each.
The book also covers a wide range of search related topics such as finding jobs, local information, multimedia or information about people and Genealogy. Almanacs, dictionaries and encyclopedia get covered. It's hard to think of something missing. Calishain has also taken a great deal of care with her topics. In the section on searching for drugs and medical information, for example, she stresses checking the reliability of your sources.
If you visit Calishain's site for the book at Web Search Garage (which redirects to the book's page at her ResearchBuzz site) there is a link to the table of contents and an example chapter. She also has two `freebie' articles, `Four Things Yahoo Can Do that Google Can't' and `Seven Ways to Save Time Searching' that are further good examples of her writing and the usefulness of the content. She also has an offer for a free six-month subscription to ResearchBuzzExtra, her paid extension to ResearchBuzz.
This volume has gone for breadth instead of depth. That, and the low starting point should make it an ideal beginners book. Since I had on hand my daughter Jessica (a slightly tech-savvy twelve-year-old with a brand-new broadband connection), I lent her my copy of the book. The response:
"This book is absolutely fantastic and I love it to death! I loved how Tara writes about Google and Yahoo and also about smaller search engines. By reading this book you find out how to find the exact information that you want. Also there are many websites in this book that are very helpful. To make the most of them I wrote them down then later checked them out on the internet. There are heaps of helpful sites for kids and heaps for all ages. Sites for fun and sites for information. I love that it is written as if Tara is talking to you and you are just reading instead of listening. It's a really cool book but if you are going to read it you need to know a little about searching the internet first. A really great book."
Jessica is correct about the language. Tara has written in a light, conversational style that lends itself to quick reading. At the same time either the writing or the editing has been quite tight, the information is packed in. This is a book that needs, indeed deserves, a second read.
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.
I've had to learn most of the tips in the book on my own over several years. If I had this book sooner, it would've saved me time and have shortened some of my searches.
Calishain shares principles for conducting various types of searches as one search method doesn't fit all. Though a Google fan, I don't use it every time simply because some other search engines better meet the needs of a search. You learn about the big picture of using search tools rather than focusing on one.
This book stands out because it describes the process of doing it. It "shows" you. She uses an example and tweaks the search syntax while letting you in on her thought process. Once you understand the principles, the rest is easy and the book becomes a great reference for remembering syntax, Web sites, and when to use a specific search engine.
Web sites that are excellent places to go for reference are listed in the book. I watch out for such information because we know Web sites come and go. However, these sites have been around for a long time and are reliable references.
With so many pages and subjects out there, it's impossible to cover them all. Calishain manages to cover a good variety of topics enough to interest each reader. Example topics include people searching, news searching, jobs, finding local information, and genealogy. The table of contents should give you a good idea of what's addressed and tell you exactly what the book covers. If you like the table of contents, you should be happy with the book.
Another reviewer pointed out you can go to [...] for more information and a sample chapter of The Principle of Onions. This should give you a good idea of whether or not this book is for you.
As a research consultant I use the web on a daily basis. Tara's book offers researchers the best tips and tricks for getting the most out your web searching. Using a first person voice, Tara lends her own experiences, both good and bad, to the well written but easy to read text. Garages hold everything from cars and bicycles to tools for gardening and lawn care. Tara's book will introduce you to tools to make your Internet searching fun and successful.
Tara starts the book with a great overview and discussion of the various search engines explaining the differences in their defaults, syntax, and coverage. From search engines, she focuses on browsers, spam protection, plug-ins, and gadgets...in other words, all the wonderful tools available out there for enhancing your searching. Readers can learn strategies for getting the best results with your search terms from a wide variety of sources beyond just search engines such as Usenet's, mailing lists, and discussion groups. Dialog boxes featuring special tips or warnings are interspersed throughout the text, as are examples of suggested searches.
I particularly enjoyed the detailed descriptions of and search tips for dozens of web sites covering everything from audio sources and photo collections to product searches and consumer information.
Regardless of the way you use the web, either for work or play, reading Web Search Garage will introduce new "tools" for enhancing your skills using the Internet.
Tara Calishain, editor of ResearchBuzz! and the undisputed champion of research on the World Wide Web, has written the definitive bible on how to find just about everything via the Internet.
This time, the co-author of Google Hacks expands her sights and offers information not only on the major search engines, but also on other lesser-know engines as well.
Calishain offers basic, down-home common sense that makes this book such a valuable resource.
She gives you the information and leaves it up to you on how to make the information work for you.
In Part II of Web Search Garage, Calishain offers 10 principles of web searching, written in such a way that you come away with an understanding of searching without feeling like an idiot. She writes for you, not down to you.
The second half of the book is devoted to showing you how to search for news, jobs, local information, images, audio, people, consumer help, technical support. In short, if you want to know how to find it, her book will help.
No matter what your level of expertise, once you finish this book you'll feel like a search expert.
The book covers...
Part I: The Elements of Web Searching:
- search engines
- toolbars and other browser gadgets
Part II: The Principles of Web Searching (I found this to be a very refreshing view on the subject -- combining the abstract with the examples):
- the principle of unique language (how the language of the query influences the results)
- the principle of the reinvented wheel (communities, usenet, etc.)
- the principle of onions (imaging pealing those layers and finding deeper and deeper information)
- the principle of nicknames (my last name changed since I got married; guess what, so did the results when searching for those name variations)
- the principle of every scrap (how to refine your searches based on the previous results)
- the principles of mass similar (extending the name searches into the branding world)
- the principle of the world beyond (bringing in the experts)
- the principle of the expanding web (as if you didn't know the universe and its projection on the web is ever expanding)
- the principle of applied power (special syntaxes for the major search engines and the precision they bring)
- the principle of salt grains (whom can you trust on the web?)
I am not sure I would have named those principles the way they are in the book but I trust Tara and her editor had a reason to pick those chapter titles.
Next comes Part III: Searching The Web with a special focus on news searching, job searching and local search. Tara takes your hand and leads you to places you (or at least I) never knew they existed on the web.
Part IV, Searching for Multimedia (images and augio, what about video?), Part V: Searching for People (including genealogy research online), Part VI: Consumer Searching (product information with special emphasis on drugs and medical information and kid-safe searching), all round up a very thorough book with more helpful tips than you can absorb for days.
Last but not least, a book focussed almost entirely on non-geeks offers a chapter on "technical support", and concludes with international information search. I would love to see this last topic expanded into a book of its own, and maybe one day such a project will see the light. For now, let's be grateful to Tara Calishain and Eben Hewitt, the Garage series editor at Prentice Hall PTR, for taking a pragmatic approach to knowledge sharing and bringing a needed book by a thoughtful author to an eager audience.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to expand their understanding and use of the vast ocean of knowledge called the World Wide Web.
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