Internet Search: About the Book
Kristina Edson, The Montreal Gazette, April 22, 2004
Anyone who’s ever conducted an Internet search knows that
gathering cyber information can be like spinning a
roulette wheel at the Casino de Montréal; success often
depends on the fickle whim of lady luck.
Factors such as how many key words are employed in the
search, which search engines are used and even how much
time is spent perusing results, can greatly alter the
final outcome of an Internet query.
And according to John Abbott College instructors Edward
Baylin and Judy Gill, there has not been a comprehensive
Internet search guide until now.
Gill and Baylin have teamed up to write Effective Internet
Search: Skills & Strategies for Improved Search Engine
Results, an e-book also available in print format. The
guide is the result of years of hard work for Baylin, a
computer analyst and university level instructor currently
teaching at John Abbott College.
With more than 32 years of computer experience in and out
of the classroom, Baylin often witnessed first hand the
frustration students encounter when searching the
“I realized there wasn’t anything well written in the
area,” Baylin said, adding that books which touched on the
subject were not written “for the searcher.”
“They are done in a non generic way, not planned or
organized,” he noted.
Rectifying the situation was an obvious solution for the
self-described “conceptual person.”
Baylin had a rough copy of the book in the works when he
ran into Gill, an accomplished writer, editor and media
specialist, at a computer seminar more than a year ago.
Both recognized a good fit and decided to collaborate on
Darlene Canning, a McGill University computer services
librarian also contributes a chapter in the book.
Gill admits she was intrigued by both the medium of an
e-book as well as the topic itself when she came on board
to turn Baylin’s tech talk into easily understood
techniques for experienced and novice searchers.
“With the web, you need to cut to the chase very quickly,”
said Gill of writing and editing the how-to guide. People
say, “Okay, give me the quick and dirty, tell me what I
need to know.”
With that format in mind, Gill took the vital skills,
know-how and techniques imparted by Baylin, interspersing
them with visuals cues such as charts, graphs, titles and
The collaborative result is a book that guides users of
all skill levels through often murky cyber waters.
According to their research, more than 50 per cent of
search questions go unanswered. A lack of specific search
savvy means many of us barley skim the surface of the
bottomless pit of cyber information.
“People are doing trial and error and bumbling around,”
“It’s very costly to have people spending hours (on a
search,) if they were a little more skilled they would
find it in minutes,” she added.
Common Internet search mistakes include using the same
search engine time and again, using just one or two key
words and linking only to the top ten web sites, which can
have garnered their spot for a fee, said Gill.
“Every search engine has a bias and yet people are making
financial decisions, health decisions on the basis of
information that is highly ranked, but can be wrong.”
According to Baylin, the tips and tools in the book allow
users to conduct a more structured search.
The e-book format is downloaded to the users computer and
includes “invaluable” hyperlinks, search tool guides, as
well as a handy search engine control center linked to
numerous search engines.
A print version of the book is also available, though Gill
and Baylin urge users to take advantage of the web format
in order to access all the hyperlinks.
For more information on Effective Internet Search, go to
© Kristina Edson, 2004