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
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
The Web site also offers a number of search tips as well as
search help resources.
© The Chronicle, 2005