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Great Scouts!

CyberGuides for Subject Searching on the Web

Great Scouts! CyberGuides for Subject Searching on the Web
By Nora Paul and Margot Williams

Published by CyberAge Books, 1999
Hardback, 354 pages
ISBN: 0-910965-27-7

In the age of information overload, this book sets out to direct web users to some of the best resources available on the web by subject category, ranging from business, education, science and technology to sports, hobbies and online shopping. Its aim is to go ‘beyond search engines’ to find the best guides to each subject area (and perhaps this gives an indication of the way the web may develop in the future to help organise information into subject groupings).

Written by two experienced information searchers in the US, each site is described in some detail including an evaluation of why it is included, what the site contains and who it is aimed at, plus how information is updated and what search facilities are available. The assessments will be useful to help web users identify the sites that they might need before spending hours surfing the net to find the best sources of information.

However, we have reservations about this book. It has a very strong US-bias which will limit some of its appeal, plus because many sites listed are already prominent resources in their subject field, one feels that there is nothing new here that users won’t come across anyway with some basic searching. What is missing are many of those ‘hard-to-find’ nuggets of information that you need an experienced searcher to unearth otherwise they remain hidden on the web.

Furthermore, like any book about the web, you start to feel that it’s out of date by the time you start to use it and one will automatically wonder about which other valuable sites have been launched since the book went on the presses. Having said that, the publishers maintain a site that is linked to the content of the book and this is being updated on a periodic basis – see the link below.

So a useful book to a point and anything that gives web users a professional evaluation of some important websites should be welcomed. But use it as a good foundation within the various subject areas and not as an alternative to the best search engines and directories.

Buy this book at a discount from Amazon