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INTRODUCTION

INTRODUCTION

What's This Book For?

Pretty much everybody on the Web has to use a search engine every now and again. Some people already know all they need to use one. If that's you and you want to read this book anyway, fine! Welcome. But this book is written more for those people who fall into one of these three categories:

  1. People who need to use Internet search engines a lot, either in the course of their work or for their personal interests.

  2. People who need to help other people use search engines—librarians, teachers, support people, homeschoolers, and so on.

  3. People who have an irrepressible curiosity about the scope of the Internet and want to learn to improve their skills at finding and monitoring new sites of interest online.

What You'll Need

This book is not an introductory Internet text. You'll need to know at least the basics of navigating the Web. Beyond that, this book doesn't require any special knowledge.

What It's All About

No, not the hokey pokey. Conceptually, this book's content is organized around three categories, with the hope of teaching you as much as possible without making you wade through topics in which you're not interested.

The Elements— This is the wheels-on-the-road, basic stuff: what search engines are all about, tools to use with them, and what gadgets and tweaks you can use to make your researching life easier.

The Principles— This is where Web Search Garage is different from many other Internet research books. In addition to covering specific topics and showing you how to work search engines, I also try to give you some principles for how Internet searching works. Search engines and online information resources will change all the time, but I think the Principle of Onions, the Principle of Salt Grains, the Principle of the Reinvented Wheel, and all the rest will hold you in good stead even as you learn about new resources and new search engines.

The Examples— These are the topics that cover specific kinds of searching, from genealogy to finding audio online to finding local information. Read the topics you find interesting, and skip the rest (though personally I think they're all fascinating).

The Internet, at this writing, has over four billion pages. Everyone is going to approach it with different needs and interests. Everyone's experiences are going to evolve in different directions: one person might lean more toward medical resources, another legal, and another might learn a lot about publication archives. The possibilities are almost endless.

Whatever your interests and wherever you go, I believe this book will be a solid foundation for you as you learn to explore, seek, and find on the Internet.

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