How many of us browse and search the web for living? Tara Calishain, the publisher of ResearchBuzz, does and has been doing this for ten years now. Then, it should come as no surprise that she is able, in this fine new book titled “Web Search Garage”, to summarize the web searching wisdom she has gathered over the years and conceptualize something that by its nature goes against simple hierarchies.

The book covers…

Part I: The Elements of Web Searching:
– search engines
– directories
– toolbars and other browser gadgets

Part II: The Principles of Web Searching (I found this to be a very refreshing view on the subject — combining the abstract with the examples):
– the principle of unique language (how the language of the query influences the results)
– the principle of the reinvented wheel (communities, usenet, etc.)
– the principle of onions (imaging pealing those layers and finding deeper and deeper information)
– the principle of nicknames (my last name changed since I got married; guess what, so did the results when searching for those name variations)
– the principle of every scrap (how to refine your searches based on the previous results)
– the principles of mass similar (extending the name searches into the branding world)
– the principle of the world beyond (bringing in the experts)
– the principle of the expanding web (as if you didn’t know the universe and its projection on the web is ever expanding)
– the principle of applied power (special syntaxes for the major search engines and the precision they bring)
– the principle of salt grains (whom can you trust on the web?)

I am not sure I would have named those principles the way they are in the book but I trust Tara and her editor had a reason to pick those chapter titles.

Next comes Part III: Searching The Web with a special focus on news searching, job searching and local search. Tara takes your hand and leads you to places you (or at least I) never knew they existed on the web.

Part IV, Searching for Multimedia (images and augio, what about video?), Part V: Searching for People (including genealogy research online), Part VI: Consumer Searching (product information with special emphasis on drugs and medical information and kid-safe searching), all round up a very thorough book with more helpful tips than you can absorb for days.

Last but not least, a book focussed almost entirely on non-geeks offers a chapter on “technical support”, and concludes with international information search. I would love to see this last topic expanded into a book of its own, and maybe one day such a project will see the light. For now, let’s be grateful to Tara Calishain and Eben Hewitt, the Garage series editor at Prentice Hall PTR, for taking a pragmatic approach to knowledge sharing and bringing a needed book by a thoughtful author to an eager audience.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to expand their understanding and use of the vast ocean of knowledge called the World Wide Web.