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Issues in Science and Technology Librarianship
Spring 2010
DOI: 10.5062/F4VX0DFZ

Book Reviews

The Extreme Searcher's Internet Handbook

Margaret Henderson
Research Services Librarian
Tompkins-McCaw Library for Health Sciences
Virginia Commonwealth University
Richmond, Virginia

Copyright 2010, Margaret Henderson. Used with permission.

The Extreme Searcher's Internet Handbook: A Guide for the Serious Searcher. Randolph Hock. 3rd. ed. 2010. CyberAge Books: Medford, NJ.

In preparation for this review, I reread my review of the first edition of this book, and I must admit it was a surprise to realize how much the Internet has changed since 2004. The second to last paragraph of the review mentions a 'short chapter on publishing your own web site or blog' and when I think of how many people blog and the addition of social media, I can't believe the changes and how they have impacted the way we as librarians work. After all, I still remember using Gopher and then switching to Netscape in 1994 (I was pregnant with my younger daughter which is why I know the date), but it seems things have changed more in the last six years, than the first 11 I spent on the Internet. Given the extent of change, this book by Randolph Hock, and its supplemental web site are an excellent resource for those of us who don't have the time to keep up with all the new and changing resources on the Internet outside of our area of expertise.

To start with, how can you not like a book that begins by comparing the Internet to an English muffin in the introduction? We can all appreciate a resource that helps us savor the "nooks and crannies" of the Internet. It is enough to keep up with the databases we need for work without having to know all the ins and outs of other subject resources. But the growth of interdisciplinary studies requires us to know about more areas. Hock's book is a great help in this regard. The chapters on directories, portals, and search engines list the best resources for general and specialized searching, with suggestions on how to find the best information using those resources. The fourth chapter of the book covers four general search engines, Google, Yahoo!, Bing, and Given that so many students start their research with Google (Head & Eisenberg 2010) it behooves any librarian to know exactly what Google is searching and how we can get the best results, and with that information, show students which specialized resources can help them even more.

Other chapters in the book cover different categories of resources, and explain why they are useful and how to search them. Discussion groups and forums can be great ways to find opinions about products or travel locations, or help with a problem. Chapter 5 covers specialized group search engines as well as tips for using the general search engines to find group information. Chapter 6 presents an Internet reference shelf, which can be quite useful for off topic questions in a special library. All the links are included in the web site that complements the book, making this reference shelf even more useful. Chapter 7 covers ways to find images, audio and video, and includes a discussion of copyright (there is also a general discussion of copyright in Chapter 1). As more and more students and instructors want audiovisual content for teaching, presentations and reports, this type of searching, and the knowledge of copyright, will be very important.

News is covered in Chapter 8, including blogs, RSS feeds and alerting and aggregation services. The chapter on finding products includes resources for auctions and price comparisons, as well as evaluations. The final chapter covers the use of Web 2.0 tools, including collaborative sites, networking sites, Twitter, blogs, and podcasts, with some hints for searching these sources as well. The book includes a glossary and listing of all the web sites mentioned in the book, as well as a good index. It will be useful to any librarian and well used in any library collection.


Head A.J. & Eisenberg M.B. 2010. How today's college students use Wikipedia for course-related research. First Monday [Internet]. [Cited 2010 Apr 15]; 15(3). Available from:

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