Burrell, J. (2004), "Managing Your Internet and Intranet Services: The Information Professional's Guide to Strategy (2nd ed.)", Online Information Review, Vol. 28 No. 4, pp. 314-315. https://doi.org/10.1108/14684520410553859
Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2004, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
This useful guidebook is addressed to new Web managers who may be information professionals, and it works well at the business operational level. It does not address itself to high‐level strategy, nor is it a technical handbook. It suffers slightly from the author's apparent uncertainty as to whom he is writing for, and what they are managing, a library Web site or a full‐blown company Web site?
The guidebook is fluently written and easy to read. The initial chapters set the scene, giving an up‐to‐date overview of the Web's development. There is a whole chapter on the relevance of LIS skills in Web management (preaching to the converted?) and another on building a business case for a Web site (it may be questioned how many organisations are still without a Web site; perhaps this is a hangover from the first edition). Then to the more operationally relevant: the role of webmaster and team, pros and cons of in‐house versus outsourced servers, design, content management, intellectual property issues including domain name registration, accessibility (including some very brief references to providing content in other languages. The author's UK bias shows here, there is an emphasis on Welsh). Final chapters wrap up ongoing maintenance issues, including site evaluation, and a chapter is devoted to the organisation's intranet. There is an adequate index and a glossary. Each chapter and the glossary are expanded by extensive references, mostly to Web sites but also to some classic texts.
The author has provided a brief overview of his topic in the text, supplemented with references for more detail. In some ways this works well: the book can be skimmed quickly as an overview or a checklist of important issues. In other ways it makes for a frustrating reader experience, as checklists and templates (e.g. sample service level agreements, sample position descriptions) are not available except online. It might have been more user‐friendly to incorporate these into the text, possibly as appendices. At a more technical level, there are occasional handy hints, e.g. in the section on copyright the author shares some useful tips about file names. On one level it is frustrating that other sections are given a relatively superficial treatment; on another, technical detail does not fit with the book's purported emphasis on strategy.
The author's UK bias is also evident in sections on governing legislation. This is natural enough, but an advantage for a global audience would have been to include Web sites for legislative guidance in a few other countries. A far greater problem is the very slight treatment of site evaluation, which is split over several sections: a brief mention under accessibility, a further mention in the glossary (under metrics), finally some guidelines on obtaining users' opinions in the penultimate chapter. This is definitely a problem in a book supposedly dealing with strategy.
Unfortunately, the companion Web site has not been updated and refers to the first edition (the “What's new” page was last modified on 31 March 2001). It is to be hoped this will be rectified soon, as it could be an extremely useful adjunct to the hard copy.
While it would be a mistake to rely solely on any one handbook, this provides a useful starting point and is recommended for newcomers to Web management.