Magazine article Information Today

Secrets of the Super Net Searchers

Magazine article Information Today

Secrets of the Super Net Searchers

Article excerpt

Secrets of the

Super Net Searchers

by Reva Basch

Wilton, CT: Pemberton Press

1996

ISBN: 0-910965-22-6

338 Pages. Paperback $29.95

In the past few years, the Internet has become a major information source. More people than ever can access and use it. Some fear that the special research skills of librarians will become obsolete before long. However, a new breed of information professionals is emerging.

They are as familiar with computers as with books and can search for and evaluate information on the Internet, in commercial databases, through personal contacts, and in paper form. Many of these people were early users of the Internet and have had time to learn its advantages and drawbacks. They are Reva Basch's "Super Net Searchers."

Hard-Won Wisdom

In this book, Basch presents interviews with 35 information professionals. These leaders in the field share their "reflections, revelations, and hard-won wisdom." The interviewees vary widely in background and employment: corporate and academic librarians, educators, information brokers, and consultants. They are all active information seekers who regularly use the Internet in their work.

Basch conducted an informal interview with each, focusing on how they have used the Internet in its varied forms (gopher, e-mail, the Web, etc.). Most used e-mail first. It immediately proved to be an invaluable tool, providing instant contact with people around the world.

Telnet access to library online catalogs was another popular early use. More recently, searchers found gopher and Web sites to be useful. Some have developed gopher and Web sites for themselves or their institutions. Others are exploring electronic publishing. All are intimately involved in the development of the Internet, how it can be used in research, and how it influences society.

The interviewees give many helpful pointers on Internet use. First of all, many of them are overwhelmed with e-mail-a common problem. They solve this problem in several ways, including reading listservs through newsgroups rather than receiving them daily. Others use software to automatically divide their e-mail so that listserv mail can be read when convenient, or elect to receive lists in digest form. Another common concern is how to keep up with new Internet developments. Listservs and newsgroups are one way, but another is subscribing to selected electronic newsletters that review the best new sites and tools.

The book contains much discussion of the best ways to do research on the Internet. …

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