Find the Information You Need!: Resources and Techniques for Making Decisions, Solving Problems, and Answering Questions

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9781442262478: Find the Information You Need!: Resources and Techniques for Making Decisions, Solving Problems, and Answering Questions
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Find the Information You Need! is designed for the person who suspects that Google and Facebook aren’t always giving them the best results for their specific information needs. Created for anyone who wants to understand how to select better information resources, deploy smarter search strategies, and evaluate results more effectively, Find the Information You Need! provides:

    • concrete exercises demonstrating successful queries on a variety of topics;
    • clear explanations of search techniques and when to use them;
    • descriptions of the different types of information resources available including commercial databases, digital libraries, and open-access repositories; and
    • helpful advice about evaluating and organizing search results.
No existing book offers what Find the Information You Need! does: a plain-language text that teaches the layperson--the end-user--what information brokers, competitive intelligence professionals, and librarians know about finding authoritative information.
A key advantage of this handbook is its arrangement. Students in an information discovery course can work through the book in a linear fashion from beginning to end. Others can dip into the text at any point that serves their needs. It someone is only interested in figuring out the best non-profit for their donations of money and time, they can use the chapter presenting exercises and explanations for exactly that kind of search. If they’re intrigued by the exercises, they can use the chapters explaining the more technical side of information organization and access to learn more.
Find the Information You Need! is organized into two main sections. Section I, Make It Work, helps the become a better searcher right away by supplying practical exercises to try. The six chapters in Section I focus on concrete steps to take for results and gives only as much explanation as needed to prevent confusion. The six chapters in Section II, How and Why It Works, provide technical details and explanations of search systems and retrieval methods. Three appendices present carefully selected web-based resources where readers can find information for a broad swath of subjects. Appendix I focuses on commercial databases accessible from state library websites, at no charge to residents of the respective states. Appendix II lists freely available encyclopedias including not only Wikipedia but many others that are more focused and more authoritative. Appendix III provides links to a variety of information resources including health-related data and guidance from U.S. government agencies, huge digital libraries from major educational institutions, and other troves of knowledge treasures.
Find the Information You Need! can be used by high school and college students undertaking research assignments. But it treats such assignments as a quest for information that anyone in the real world of business, government, the sciences, journalism, and other fields might undertake. As a result, anyone wanting to go beyond the usual web search engine and the biases built into its algorithms can use the book to learn specific, sophisticated resources and techniques not only to search, but to also actually find useful, authoritative information.

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About the Author:

As a member of the faculty of the University of Arizona School of Information, Cheryl Knott teaches courses in online searching, government information, and other topics related to information access. She earned her PhD in library and information science at the University of Texas while working as a reference librarian at the Perry-Castaņeda Library.

Review:

Cheryl Knott has created a well written, thorough, and accessible guide and using it leads to only one outcome -- a mastery of information resources on the Internet. (C. Sean Burns, Assistant Professor, School of Information Science, College of Communication and Information, University of Kentucky)

Using everyday language, humor, and real-life examples, this book explains how ordinary people can develop superior online searching skills. The tools, strategies, and step-by-step techniques are discussed in just enough detail to build the confidence of the readers without overwhelming them. (Ericka J. Patillo, Lecturer, School of Information and Library Science, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)

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