BOOK AND SOFTWARE REVIEWS


Sauers, Michael P. Searching 2.0. London: Facet Publishing, 2009. 350 p. ISBN 978-1-85604-629-9. 34.95.


As Henry Simpson pointed out 'the notion of Web 2.0 is somewhat problematic'. Some would say it is the new version of the Web, others would say that Web 2.0 is about the applications that make it possible for users to contribute with their own information and others would say it is simply about how we use the Web nowadays. Searching 2.0 is a guide to the current 'version' of the Web for librarians, or information specialists if you like, or any person who deals with information in his or her profession. It is not only a guide to social search engines, even though some of them are included in the book. Is the book needed? Yes, if you ask me. I think, from my own experience as a teacher in library and information science, that we need to spread the word. There are more technologies and applications than Google, and there are more features than just the search box on the front page. Or, if you like, Google cannot solve every problem.

The book presents several tools for finding information, how to use them and when to use them. Sauers provides a pedagogical book which guides the reader to the various tools presented. A lot of screen shots make the book easy to follow. There are several good tips and tricks which can help the reader to improve his or her information literacy. Not only does the book present the tools, it also presents the features of the tools that many librarians might be unaware of.

In the first chapter, Sauers gives a thorough description about Web 2.0 by first pointing to Tim O'Reilly's initial definition, then describes a couple of Web 2.0 applications and points out what is the '2.0' in them. However, as pointed out above, this book does not only deal with social applications. The following chapters are about how to work with Delicious, how to use Wikipedia, media search, geographic search, print search (how to search inside a book using Google Book Search and Amazon.com's Search Inside the Book), searching in the past using Google Cache, the Wayback Machine and Wikipedia Page Histories. Also included is a chapter about how to use OpenSearch, a browser add-on tool for sending a query to a chosen search engine independently of which Web site you currently visit, and a chapter about desktop searching. The final chapter in the book is about data visualization. Every chapter except the first and the last is finished with some exercises related to the content, which contributes to the pedagogical strengths of the book.

Of course, you cannot cover everything in a book. There are some other tools of interest such as Rollyo, Scour, Whonu and Quintura for example which could be mentioned. Also there is Tag Galaxy which provides an interesting and very useful interface for searching Flickr. However, those included in this book are tools I think a librarian should know about, and in the best of worlds, master.

David Gunnarsson
University of Borås
August, 2009