This book is the result of my Fall 2012 class “Web-based Information Resources” that I taught to undergraduates at the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan. Here is why I said students should take this class:
Do you want to gain in-depth knowledge about how to use Google and many other Web-based tools than the average student? Do you want to know where and how to find interesting blogs, images, and videos? How about RSS feeds and email alerts? Do you want to know how to quickly learn about current events related to a company or industry you are interested in? Finally, do you want to learn how to stay current on developments in all of these areas after you leave UM? (After all, technology is going to continue to change after you leave school.)
If so, this class is for you. (If not, then run far, far away.)
In this course we will learn all about the above. We will explore these tools from the perspective of an undergrad who will soon be entering the workforce and will have to successfully, efficiently, and effectively gather and monitor information on many topics. This is not a class about building Web pages or writing HTML or using delicious; it is about finding information on the Web and having it delivered to you with a minimum of effort.
This book is the result of an assignment the students had at the end of the semester. Each student was assigned one chapter (with me picking up the rest). At this time of the evolution of the Web (and current student preferences), they default to using Google to search for almost anything. The students were tasked with investigating these different tools, figuring out the types of things that each is most useful for, and then deciding whether or not they would or should use their tool instead of, or along side of, Google. The assignment involved the student writing a draft of the chapter, two other students writing detailed critiques of the chapter, and then the author revising the chapter appropriately. The book you see in front of you is a result of all this work.
This book is meant to be a snapshot of Web search technologies in December 2012. We hope you enjoy.