Recommended Readings on Search Engines

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Recommended Readings on Search Engines This month I learned a lot about search engines, having read three different books devoted to the topic. And now-after too much surfing-it is time to do some housecleaning on the computer. Google: The Missing Manual by Sarah Milsteiin and Rael Dornfest ISBN: 0-596-00613-6 Published: 2004 Pages: 299 pp.; softcover Price: $19.95 Available from: Pogue Press, O'Reilly Media, Inc., 1005 Gravenstein Highway North, Sebastopol, CA 95472; 800/998-9938; www.oreilly.com

This book provides more information on Google than you will ever want to know. Written by O'Reilly's Missing Manual series editor, Sarah Milstein, and O'Reilly researcher Rael Dornfest, who is also the co-author of O'Reilly's Google Hacks with Tara Calishain, the book is divided into four major sections. The first one focuses on searching Google, providing tips for both basic and advanced searches. Part Two looks at specialized resources from Google, including news, images, the Google directory, Google Answers, and shopping though Google Catalog and Froogle. Part Three provides details of installing and using the Google Toolbar, and the last section is for Webmasters, providing a bit of insight on how to get a better ranking in Google search results and how to use and manage Google ads.

The book seems to be aimed at those with a little bit of searching experience. It is not a basic guide. If you are already using Google's advanced search, then you probably won't learn much. However, if you are interested in Google ads, it offers a very helpful section.

The easy style and plentiful screenshots make the book a pleasure to read, and the organization and index make it simple to find a particular search hint. I only question how many people will ever go beyond typing in a word or two and will bother to read this book.

Web Search Garage: The Definitive Guide on How Best to Search the Internet by Tara Calishain ISBN: 0-13-147148-1 Published: 2004 Pages: 264 pp.; softcover Price: $19.99 Available from: Prentice Hall Professional Technical Reference, Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458; 800/382-3419; www.phptr.com

This fun book puts you in the head of experienced researcher Calishain, who runs the Research Buzz Web site and e-newsletter, co-authored Google Hacks with Rael Dornfest, and speaks at WebSearch University. She makes you think about how and where you search for particular kinds of information by presenting a variety of general principles in a new way. For instance, the "Principle of Unique Language" encourages the searcher to focus on the most unique words in their query. The "Principle of Onions" encourages the user to start with the most specific search first and then to progressively become more general.

Each of the brief 26 chapters focuses on a different type of resource, covering everything a searcher might want, from full-text search engines to plug-ins and downloads. Descriptions of key resources tell you why you would choose that resource in the first place and are interspersed with insights as to how to get the best results.

This book is an excellent resource for anyone who wants to find answers on the Web and who is willing to try more than one search engine or Web resource. Give it to those one-word searchers that think they know it all. Maybe after reading this book, they'll think differently.

Google and Other Search Engines by Diane Poremsky ISBN: 0-321-24614-4 Published: 2004 Pages: 364 pp.; softcover Price: $19.99 Available from: Peachpit Press, 1249 Eight St., Berkeley, CA 94710; 800/283-9444; www.peachpitpress.com

This is one of the Visual QuickStart Guide series of books aimed at getting people up and running quickly. …