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Author: Julie Holcomb
Title: Secrets of the Super Net Searchers: The Reflections, Revelations, and Hard-Won Wisdom of the World's Top Internet Researchers
Publication info: Ann Arbor, MI: MPublishing, University of Michigan Library
November 1998
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Source: Secrets of the Super Net Searchers: The Reflections, Revelations, and Hard-Won Wisdom of the World's Top Internet Researchers
Julie Holcomb


vol. 1, no. 2, November 1998
Article Type: Book Review
URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2027/spo.3310410.0001.214
PDF: Download full PDF [6kb ]

Secrets of the Super Net Searchers: The Reflections, Revelations, and Hard-Won Wisdom of the World's Top Internet Researchers

Julie Holcomb

  • Basch, Reva. Secrets of the Super Net Searchers: The Reflections, Revelations, and Hard-Won Wisdom of the World's Top Internet Researchers (Pemberton Press, 1996).

Books about the Internet are typically out of date by the time they are published. Reva Basch readily admits this in the introduction to her book, Secrets of the Super Net Searchers: The Reflections, Revelations, and Hard-Won Wisdom of the World's Top Internet Researchers, but she believes that the format of her book—a series of interviews with top Internet researchers—will make it less likely (or at least slower) to suffer the fate of other Internet guidebooks. Basch is correct in her judgment. If you are looking for a technical guide to Internet research, you would do better to look elsewhere. If you are looking for insights into the Internet search strategies of top researchers, you will find Basch's book helpful.

For her book Basch interviewed 35 professional Internet searchers. She has organized the interviews into four sections: Independent Research Professionals, Academic Librarians and Educators, Corporate Researchers and Webmasters, and Writers/Consultants/Net Pioneers. Basch obviously approached each meeting with set questions, but she modified those questions based on the direction of the conversation. This organic quality makes for a better read than would have otherwise been possible had she stuck to rote questions. The non-linear format, like the spatial nature of the Internet, allows the reader to "surf" the text and follow a particular line of interest. A decent index facilitates this process.

The biggest problem with Secrets of the Super Net Searchers is that, despite Basch's best efforts, it is out of date. Alta Vista had just started in 1996 when Basch's book was published. New search engines continually are being developed and older ones updated. It would be interesting to know how these top Internet professionals have changed their search strategies in response to these changes. However, Basch's book should not be dismissed just because the technical information is dated. Her interviewees do address valuable, and timeless, topics such as how to evaluate information found on the Internet.

Secrets of the Super Net Searchers was reviewed favorably by RQ and Library Journal.

Julie Holcomb, Pacific University holcombj@pacificu.edu