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The Internet Handbook for Writers, Researchers, and Journalists

McGuire, Mary; Stilborne, Linda; McAdams, Melinda; Hyatt, Laurel
Publisher:  Trifolium Books, Toronto, Canada
Year Published:  2000   First Published:  1997
Pages:  242pp   Price:  $29.95   ISBN:  1-895579-17-1
Library of Congress Number:  ZA4201.I573 1997   Dewey:  025.04

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The Internet Handbook for Writers, Researchers and Journalists describes tools and strategies, including detailed explanations of how to get connected and how to use your browser to navigate the World Wide Web.

The Handbook's strength comes from its focus on the needs of journalists and writers, and from its inclusion of Canadian sources of information. Given that many Internet guides assume that the known universe ends at the borders of the United States, the substantive Canadian content is a definite advantage.

The Handbook's chapter on search strategies and techniques is a solid introduction to the basics. Particularly helpful are discussions of some of the advanced features (and quirks) of the popular search engines. Surprisingly the limitations of the meta-search engines, which negate most of the advanced features of the individual search engines, are glossed over.

Helpful, as well, is the chapter on managing and evaluating the information resources you find online.

Libraries and databases, including media and government sites, are surveyed and described. There's a useful chapter on the non-WWW side of the Internet, including E-mail, listservs, newsgroups, and FAQs. An extensive resource list is included.

The authors address a number of issues of interest to writers and journalists such as copyright, censorship, citing sources, and the E-mail interview.

They note the disadvantages of online interviews, including the fact that the person being interviewed has an edge in being able to draft his or her answers at leisure, potentially with the help of a PR specialist.

The Handbook deserves a place next to your monitor if you're relatively new to the Internet but plan to start using it in a serious way.

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