In short: buy this book if you want your search results to be quicker and more useful.
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The book’s first section is an overview of search engines, the differences between them, and then additional tools and gizmos that can aid you in your search. As Tara herself points out, the web landscape is something that’s constantly changing, so while rooting the discussion with specific examples like Google and Yahoo, the text presents the underlying concepts that make the example sites and tools valuable, each in their own right.
The second section of Web Search Garage covers something I’ve not seen covered elsewhere. As far as I’m concerned this section is the real value and meat of the book: what to search for. Presented as “Principals of Web Searching”, Tara covers how to search effectively. In short:
- How to select terms to search for.
- Where to search.
- How to narrow down search results.
- How to start with too narrow results and expand.
- How to find off-line resources.
- How to use the search engine’s unique tools and abilities.
- How to evaluate search results.
Each is presented in clear language with both specific examples and related reference sites .
Subsequent sections of the book look at more specific types of common searches including News, Job, Local and International searching. Finding people is covered as well as genealogy research, and an interesting section on finding “multimedia” such as images, video and audio files. A section on Consumer searching includes general consumer help, medical information and kid-safe searching. A section is devoted to Technical Support, which as you can imagine is near and dear to my heart. And naturally there’s a section on finding general reference information on the web as
As with Principals of Web Searching, all these sections include both general conceptual information that will help you be a more effective web searcher regardless of where you search, as well as specific examples and sites to get you started.
I consider myself a reasonably proficient web searcher, yet as I was reading this book I found myself making notes of new techniques to try that I hadn’t thought of.
If you’re at all interested in making your web search time more effective, investing in a copy of Web Search Garage is a great place to start.
While you’re thinking about it, I do also recommend Tara’s other book, Google Hacks. Google’s an amazingly powerful search engine, but also much much more. Google Hacks will help you not only use Google more effectively, but introduce you to tools you never even realized were there.