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Books: A User's Report

Elizabeth Zinkann

To assist everyone who has had difficulty finding something via the Internet, this month I reviewed NetResearch: Finding Information Online by Daniel J. Barrett (Songline Studios, Inc., O'Reilly & Associates, Inc.). I also reviewed and tested the accompanying CD-ROM for Running A Perfect Intranet by Rich Casselberry, David Baker, Gordon Benett, Jane Calabria, Simeon Greene, Jim O'Donnel, Kannan Ramasubramanian, Jeff Rigg, Krishna Sunkar, David Schramm, Ian Verschuren, and Joe Weber (Que Books). I looked at corporate Internet issues with Marketing On The Internet, Second Edition, by Jill H. Ellsworth and Matthew V. Ellsworth (John Wiley & Sons, Inc.) and for Linux users and administrators, I reviewed Linux In A Nutshell: A Desktop Quick Reference by Jessica Perry Hekman and the staff of O'Reilly & Associates, Inc. (O'Reilly & Associates, Inc.).

In the April issue, I briefly mentioned a publication dedicated to the technical Perl programmer, The Perl Journal. It is an excellent magazine (with very little advertising) that contains tips, procedures, and columns relating to the Perl language. Although the recommendation appeared in the print version of Sys Admin, it was accidentally deleted from the online version of this column ( The editors apologize for the omission. The Perl Journal's Web site is

NetResearch: Finding Information Online
by Daniel J. Barrett
Songline Studios, Inc.
O'Reilly & Associates, Inc.
ISBN 1-56592-245-X

The Internet's immense amount of information combined with its extensive variety of topics provide an invaluable reference for users. However, the uninitiated seeker often encounters frustration or failure locating specific data. In NetResearch: Finding Information Online, Barrett discusses the mechanics of an Internet search and successful investigation techniques. The author describes Internet utilities and search procedures in the following chapters: Instant Gratification...and Beyond, Internet Basics, Views of the Internet, Choosing an Effective Starting Point, Web Searching Techniques, Finding Places, Finding People, Finding Kindred Spirits, Finding Freely Distributable Software, Finding Information Again, and Putting Information Online. The Appendices include: (A) Great Places to Start a Search and (B) Answers to Quiz Questions. Barrett introduces the concepts of searching via the Internet followed by an examination of successful search procedures. He also addresses finding something a second time, how to find an item when it has been moved, (this is similar to the search I repeatedly conduct for my car keys), and how to safely contribute your own items to the Internet.

Finding information on the Internet often becomes an exercise in deduction. While Holmes may find it elementary, Watson and the rest of us need search methods. The books of Yellow Pages are helpful; they present the topics currently available with their respective addresses. In the event that a site moves, the user at least has a starting point from which to begin his or her search. Barrett discusses several Web search engines, including Alta Vista, Yahoo, Web Crawler, Lycos, and Magellan, and encourages the reader to try more than one. The author also illustrates different search strategies, each tailored to what the user knows about the topic and what the desired result is.

NetResearch: Finding Information Online is an excellent book that clearly illustrates Internet search essentials. Barrett demonstrates how searches work and how to use them efficiently and effectively. He begins each chapter with a brief introduction and provides a quiz at the end of the chapters. In addition to the search guidelines, the author includes opinions from experienced Internet searchers about their preferences including search engines, types of queries, and failures (to name a few) throughout the book. Any user looking for the secrets to finding information online will appreciate this clearly written and informative guide to power searching techniques.

Running A Perfect Intranet
by Rich Casselberry, David Baker, Gordon Benett, Jane Calabria, Simeon Greene, Jim O'Donnel,
Kannan Ramasubramanian, Jeff Rigg, Krishna Sunkar,
David Schramm, Ian Verschuren, and Joe Weber
Que Books
ISBN 0-7897-0823-X
CD-ROM Included

The pragmatic features of Intranets are increasing. With each newly realized benefit, the case for Intranet development becomes stronger. Currently, it can be utilized with existing and new databases, allow access from different platforms, integrate groupware applications, and work in a client/server role. The authors present this topic in four distinct sections: The Introduction, Choosing Software and Setting Up, Writing HTML for the Intranet, and Maintenance and Security. An appendix is dedicated to the contents of the CD-ROM. The Introductory section consists of a single chapter: The WWW and the Intranet. This section establishes some essential and fundamental concepts (e.g., the definition of an Intranet):

The term Intranet refers to an internal network designed to be used by company employees. This network commonly consists of a WWW server but can also be made up of other servers such as usenet servers, FTP servers, database servers or other applications. [page 10]

The authors also demonstrate the concepts of layered protocols, HTTP (HyperText Transport Protocol), Secure Protocols, Some Intranet Applications, and Why Intranets Make Sense.

The second section addresses various server platforms and necessary features of a Web server. The chapters detailing these concepts include: Choosing A Server Platform, Installing and Configuring HTTPD for UNIX, Installing and Configuring IIS (Microsoft's Internet Information Server), Installing and Configuring Netscape Enterprise Server and LiveWire, Installing and Configuring Novell NetWare Web Server, Installing and Configuring Lotus Notes Web Publishing Products, and Installing and Configuring Browser Software. Each of the chapters discuss installation, configuration, and troubleshooting procedures for the individual servers. The chapter on Lotus Notes also includes some applications examples, and the browser chapter examines Internet Protocol (IP) networking and the intricacies of browser software. The following section, Writing HTML for the Intranet, features: Basic HTML and Simple Pages; Graphics, Imagemaps, and Tools; HTML Forms, CGI and Perl; Java and JavaScript, VB Script and ActiveX Controls; Search Engines and Annotation Systems; Database Access and Application Integration Using Scripts; Commercial Applications; and Groupware Applications. The final section, Maintenance and Security, evaluates Using Multimedia, Usage Statistics and Log Analysis, Maintaining the Server and Documents, Sharing the Intranet with the World, and Intranet Security. The accompanying CD-ROM contains so much additional information and utilities that I thought I had misread it. However, upon opening the CD-ROM, I discovered the description to be accurate. (I was also pleasantly surprised; the CD-ROM did not require any installation. I simply opened the files while using a browser.) It furnishes source code, plug-ins (e.g., Acrobat, Corel CMX, Shockwave for Director, and ASAP Word Power, etc.), Helpers (Audio, Multimedia, and Video/Image, including Cooledit, WHAM, a working model of Macromedia Director 5.0, QuickTime, and SnapCAP), HTML Editors and Utilities (such as HotDog, HTML Assistant, and Webmania), Java (Java, The Hot Java Browser and The Java Development Kit, etc.), CGI and Perl (both Perl 4 and Perl 5), VRML (NAVFlyer, Pioneer, VRScout, and Worldview), Web Utilities (LISTSERV, iView, BinHex, WinZip, SATAN, etc.), and HTML Utilities (such as MAP THIS!, WebForms, etc.) It also furnishes the following books in HTML format: Special Edition Using CGI; Special Edition Using HTML, Second Edition; Special Edition Using Java; Special Edition Using JavaScript; Special Edition Using Lotus Notes 4; Special Edition Using Miscrosoft Back Office, and the Special Edition Using Microsoft SQL Server.

Running A Perfect Intranet defines Intranet concepts, discusses the advantages of corporate Intranet sites, examines different servers, demonstrates Web page design utilities, and reviews security measures. Each concept is logically introduced and its terminology defined as the authors present it. Figures, diagrams, tables, screen outputs, and examples are employed where applicable; sidebars entitled Notes, Tips, and Cautions also appear throughout the text. Running A Perfect Intranet is a well-written, effective, and excellent book. I highly recommend it for any reader interested in Intranets, whether as an administrator, designer, or user.

Marketing On The Internet
Second Edition
by Jill H. Ellsworth and Matthew V. Ellsworth
John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
ISBN 0-471-16504-2

The commercial aspect of the Internet seemed to multiply exponentially. Once a limited activity with restricted practices, the Internet business community currently enjoys popular status. The Internet shopper can often obtain products that are unavailable locally, compare prices online, save time, and recover gracefully from a forgotten birthday or anniversary. Entrepreneurs can create an online presence, whether they represent a small local business or a worldwide establishment. The procedures employed in online marketing differ from those traditionally used in the offline business world. In the second edition of Marketing On The Internet, Jill and Matthew Ellsworth detail how to establish a business Internet connection, use the most current Web utilities, collect statistics about visitors to your site, and conduct secure transactions on the Internet. The authors divide the book into four sections: Leveraging the Web for Marketing - A Preview, Successful Marketing on the Internet, Constructing Effective Web Sites, and Online Resources for Internet Marketing. The first part presents an Internet Overview and Marketing on the Internet: The Big Picture. In Successful Marketing on the Internet (Part 2), the authors address The World Wide Web -Using It for Business; Effective WWW Marketing - An Integrated Approach; and Caution, Security, and Customs of the Natives - A Cautionary Tale. Constructing Effective Web Sites (Part 3) includes: Preparing HTML Documents for the World Wide Web; Adding Graphics, Sound, Databases, Action, and Interactivity to a Web Site; and Homepages That Work: Best Practices for Marketing. The final part illustrates Power-searching the Web; Important World Wide Web Resources and Sites Supporting Internet Marketing; Business to Business: Cyber-advertising Agencies, Venture Capital, Web Services, and Information; Expanding Your Internet Marketing Tool Kit; and the Epilogue: The Future - Think Months, Not Years. The Appendices include (A) Getting Internet Access for Marketing on the World Wide Web; (B) Using Browsers to Get Online; (C) Lynx - A Text Browser; and (D) Selected Marketing-Related Discussion and Announcement Groups.

The authors provide business guidelines on several different levels. They introduce the concepts and practices of the Internet and illustrate effective Web pages throughout the book. They also demonstrate how to create an impressive Web site, whether for a small or large company or a nonprofit organization. The Ellsworths include the most current Web development tools. They also discuss how to make your online presence a working business environment, extending traditional advertising and marketing concepts to the constantly changing online world. Marketing On The Internet, Second Edition, customizes marketing and advertising concepts for any size and type of business, from an independent coin dealer to a worldwide florist. The authors furnish many examples and include online resources for further research. This is a superb book that combines technical expertise and knowledgeable business practices. The result is a technical marketing procedure for businesses entering the online world, as well as those who wish to improve their profiles.

Linux in a Nutshell
A Desktop Quick Reference
by Jessica Perry Hekman and the staff of O'Reilly & Associates, Inc.
O'Reilly & Associates, Inc.
ISBN 1-56592-167-4

Administrators, programmers, and users have relied on the Nutshell series of books since the first UNIX in a Nutshell book appeared. These concise books have changed in appearance over the years, but not in content. They are desktop references. They are written for those who already know the concepts of the operating systems, and already have them installed and configured. The Nutshell books historically include the necessary commands (and their syntax) to run your system. Linux in a Nutshell is no exception to this tradition. It contains the essential commands generic to most Linux systems. (Commands for specialized packages that accompany some Linux versions are not included.) However, it does include documentation for the GNU tools by the Free Software Foundation.

Hekman and the O'Reilly staff present commands and brief overviews pertaining to the following subjects: Introduction, Linux User Commands; The UNIX Shell: An Overview; bash: The Bourne Again Shell; csh and tcsh; Pattern Matching; The Emacs Editor; The vi Editor; The ex Editor; The sed Editor; The gawk Scripting Language; Programming Overview and Commands; System and Network Administration Overview; and System and Network Administration Commands. The format of the book is excellent. When applicable, the author describes a concept briefly. Most of the book, however, presents an organized, logical, and readable table (or tables) of command, syntax, descriptions, and options. It is easily referenced for quick answers to questions. The index is more detailed than in most books, permitting even easier access to the commands.

This is an excellent addition to the Nutshell library. Linux is a good way to learn UNIX, and many professionals like its availability and support. The Free Software Foundation's GNU tool documentation in this version only enhances its quality. Everyone who either uses Linux (or would like to) or any of the GNU tools will appreciate this text as a valuable and exceptional reference. It will help the reader, no matter what his or her level of expertise or knowledge of Linux is. I highly recommend it.

About the Author

Elizabeth Zinkann has been involved in the UNIX and C environment for the past 12 years. She is currently a UNIX and C consultant, and one of her specialties is UNIX education. In addition to her computer science background, she also has a degree in English. Elizabeth can be reached via America Online (