Duck Duck Book

6 – web search garage
12.12.2004, 12:04 am
Filed under: generalities

Web search garage / Tara Calishain.
Upper Saddle River, N.J. : Prentice Hall PTR, c2005.
[MCL call number: 025.04 C154w 2005; six copies, one hold]

As a librarian I spend a lot of time searching for things — in books, magazines, articles, indexes, reference works, government documents, computerized databases, in rooms, on shelves, and also on the internet. I am good at it, but one of the things that makes me good at it is that I am always trying to get better. This book is making me better.

Web Search Garage is written for the everyday researcher (that is, for you, me, your mom, and the person you sat next to on the bus this morning), and it is well organized, thoughtful, practical, and easy to use. If you are interested in becoming a better web searcher, in fact if you’re interested in searching the web at all for any thing or any purpose, I demand that you read this book!

Calishain begins with a discussion of what search engines are and how they work. What’s the difference between a full-text search engine and a subject index? Why would you use one and not the other, and how do you find them? Are there online tools that you can use to make searching full text and subject search engines easier?

The second section of the book is a series of chapters explaining Calishain’s ten principles of web searching — these are basically strategies that you might employ for different kinds of searches. This is incredibly helpful. Calishain explains some general theories of searching and then applies them to the context of looking for stuff on the web — read it and you will be better and finding things on the web and also in other places! The remaining sections discuss searching for particular kinds of things — news, jobs, local information, images, genealogy, medical information, and more.

The book has an index, and the table of contents is detailed enough to use as a kind of subject index as well.


6 – our enemies
12.12.2004, 12:03 am
Filed under: social sciences

Our enemies in blue : police and power in America / Kristian Williams.
Brooklyn, NY : Soft Skull Press : Distributed by Publishers Group West, 2004.
[MCL call number: 363.232 W724o 2004; two copies, six holds]

As you may know, this book was written by my partner Kristian and I am not at all an unbiased reviewer. However, I am fairly sure that I am never an unbiased reviewer. So: this book presents a clear, politically savvy account of where police came from, what they’re for, how they work, and why we don’t need them.

Our Enemies in Blue is an intellectually, socially, and politically useful book; Kristian’s writing is tight and a pleasure both for the mind and they eyes, even for an impatient reader such as myself (I’m always skipping to the end of the paragraph, the page, the chapter). The text is followed by an excellent bibliography and index.

6 – how buildings learn
12.12.2004, 12:02 am
Filed under: art & entertainment

How buildings learn : what happens after they're built / Steward Brand.
New York, NY : Viking, c1994.
[MCL call number: 720.1 B817h; one copy, one hold]

This classic work discusses the changes that take place in buildings as they age, especially as they are modified by their human inhabitants. The book is richly illustrated, and includes many photographs of the same scene over time (say a building's facade in 1910, 1934, and 1956), as well as useful drawings and plans. Brand's writing is eloquent, and he argues with a kind of common-sense perspective that is completely absent from most discussions of architecture and space planning.

I read the whole thing straight through as quickly as I could, and then went back and read some of it over, so I'd recommend How Buildings Learn for leisure reading as well as for serious learning. The book is appended with a selective bibliography (annotated), and an index.

6 – skeletal systems
12.12.2004, 12:01 am
Filed under: events, websites

Skeletal systems [exhibit] / Michael Paulus.

Drawings of the skeletons of cartoon characters.  You must see to believe the horror and the fascination.  If you would like to see them in person, hurry to Stumptown Coffee on Belmont, where 22 of the sketches are on display through the month of December.