Recommended Reading on Search, Archives, Writing, and Time Management

Article excerpt

This month I take a look at search in a new way; Web 2.0 for archives and more; better writing skills; and a time management technique.

* * * *

Search Patterns: Design Patterns by Peter Morville and Jeffery Callender

ISBN: 978-0-596-80227-1

Published: 2010

Pages: 192 pp.; softcover

Price: $39.99

Available from: O'Reilly Media, Inc., 1005 Gravenstein Highway North, Sebastopol, CA 95472; (800) 998-9938; www.oreilly.com

If you think you know all there is to know about search, read Search Patterns and you'll find out that you really don't know search at all. Not a technical book, it forces you to look outside the box at the user's searrch experience and all the different ways search can happen, should happen, and could happen.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Peter Morville is well-known for his information architecture and findability books, as well as his inspiring talks at various conferences. Jeffery Callender works with Morville at the design consultancy Q Ltd., also specializing in user experiences. Their emphasis in this book is on how we help people find things through search.

The book is divided into six chapters. The first two cover the basics of search and why this is, in the words of the authors, "the worst usability problem on the web." Then they look at user behavior and the various design patterns of search. The last two chapters explore search as a discovery engine, including serendipitous browsing and future scenarios. The book is amply illustrated with diagrams and screen shots--appropriate for a book that is trying to make you look at search in a totally new way.

The authors point out many new tools that improve search, such as autocomplete, faceted search, and federated search, as well as device- or format-specific tools, such as mobile search, multimedia search, and ultimately unified discovery. None of these are touted as being the best, but each has interesting applications or implications, and they all change the user's search experience in some way. Mix and match, extend and compress. The goal is to enhance the user's learning experience.

If you work with or care about search at all, read this book to look at search from both sides now. It will get you thinking in many new ways.

* * *

Web 2.0 Tools and Strategies for Archives and Local History Collections

by Kate Theimer

ISBN: 978-1555706791

Published: 2010

Pages: 246 pp.; softcover

Price: $79.95

Available from: Neal-Schuman Publishers, Inc., 100 William St., Suite 2004, New York, NY 10038; (212) 925-8650; www.neal-schuman.com

Don't be fooled by the title of Web 2.0 Strategies for Archives and Local History Collections; it will appeal to a far greater spectrum of information professionals than simply archivists. As with Web 2.0 initiatives, the best way to learn is to see how others are using the tools. This book is packed with interesting examples that have applications in all kinds of environments.

The book is divided into 12 chapters; each one focuses on a different Web 2.0 concept or tool. The first couple of chapters provide an introduction and help with setting goals. Following that are chapters for blogs, podcasts, Flickr, YouTube, Twitter, wikis, and Facebook. The book ends with guidelines for measuring your success and other management issues. Each chapter includes examples and interviews with librarians who are implementing the discussed tool in their archives or special collections.

At first thought, many of us would not link archives with Web 2.0 tools, which is what makes the examples so interesting. These libraries are making their collections come alive and attracting users who would have never known or used these resources. I particularly liked the idea of blogging historical diaries. What a great way to view history. …