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Effective Internet Search: About the Book

The Chronicle, Patricia Enborg, March 2, 2005

Book offers ’net tips

How often has this happened to you? You type something into your favourite search engine on your computer only to come up with pages and pages of results, none of which have anything remotely connected to what you were looking for? It’s frustrating enough for the average person, even more so for people trying to do serious research on the Internet.

Two teachers at John Abbott College have decided to do something about it. Ed Baylin and Judy Gill have written a book, ‘Effective Internet Search: E-Searching Made Easy!’ Darlene Canning, a computer services librarian at McGill University, also contributes a chapter. The book comes in both print form and as an e-book. First published last fall, it has already been revised to keep up with the ongoing changes on the Internet.

Baylin, who has more than 32 years experience in the computer field, teaches computer science at the college. Gill teaches physical education and has been writing and editing books, magazine and newspaper articles for 30 years.

They were taking a course together when Baylin first showed a draft of his book to Gill. With her extensive background in writing, he asked her to edit a few chapters. Baylin said she agreed to do so then, “As she went on and on, virtually everything I did had to be rewritten or expanded.”

Gill smiled as she said she soon realized the book needed to be more accessible to the average person. “Ed had the more complicated stuff and I was saying whoa, how about some of the basic stuff so we understand?”

The idea for the book first came to Baylin several years ago when he was teaching a course on the Internet. He couldn’t find any books that were up to date or even written at an appropriate level for his students so he decided to write one of his own.

Baylin said it’s for everyone who’s interested in searching. He said right now people don’t always get the information they want by plugging a few words into a search engine. “Fifty per cent of the time they might find what they want but 50 per cent of the time they don’t. They could much more quickly get their results if they had a better approach.” He added, “About 80 per cent of the information available on the Web is actually hidden.”

The book outlines the basic principles of search engines as well as explaining how to apply that knowledge.

Students will be happy to know that reading this book could actually boost their grades. At least that’s what it did for several students in Doris Miller’s ethics class at John Abbott. Miller said her students are working on topics that are up to the minute. She requires them to research things like stem cell research or genetically modified food for example. They then have to argue both the pros and cons of that particular issue. Miller said she had two students who admitted they weren’t that good at researching on the net but once they read the book “Both wound up with grades in the 90s. It was quite impressive.”

The book is available on the Web site www.searchhelpcenter.com.

The Web site also offers a number of search tips as well as search help resources.

Source: The Chronicle

© The Chronicle, 2005

Effective Internet Search: E-Searching Made Easy!    © Baylin Systems, Inc., 2006