The Student’s Guide to the Internet 1998/1999 (2nd ed.)

Glyn Rowland (Information Management Subject Group, Liverpool Business School)

New Library World

ISSN: 0307-4803

Article publication date: 1 July 2000




Rowland, G. (2000), "The Student’s Guide to the Internet 1998/1999 (2nd ed.)", New Library World, Vol. 101 No. 4, pp. 193-196.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

The very successful first edition of this handbook appeared in 1996, claiming among its strengths that it was the first written specifically for university and college students, that it was British, and aimed to be realistic in its coverage of the Internet’s vast resources. These strengths have successfully continued in to this second edition – covering a vast amount of information in its 150 pages. I was also impressed with the publisher’s realistic pricing policy – they obviously realise the pressures on student resources, leaving little, if any, for book buying.

The authors start with the usual section on “What is the Internet?”, summarising what a student is likely to find there (including a note of the “junk” that is out there). Internet addressing follows, with fairly detailed comments on the use of e‐mail, discussions lists and network etiquette, followed by brief coverage of the use of the main browsers. Details of the meaning of common error messages are also noted. Mention is made of Telnet, Gopher and FTP protocols, noting the decline in their use with the advent of the World Wide Web. A particularly interesting section titled “Exclusive to the UK – JANET information services” covers the use of JANET and the range of services now available to UK higher education through BIDS, EDINA, OCLC, NISS, etc.

Probably the main chapter of the book is that titled “Help and information with your course work” – this covers subject services and specialised sources targeting UK students (but not restricted to UK sources). Advice on tracing full‐text books, research papers, subject dictionaries, electronic journals, newspapers, software, reference material, and official publications is included. In addition, locating images, sounds, maps, library catalogues, and teaching and learning material is also covered.

A valuable section for the student reader is that on finding jobs, loans, placements, travel, and accommodation on the Net. Keeping up with new Internet resources, and sufficient information to create a basic Web page are also presented.

The section on “Impressing your tutors – citing electronic sources in your work” is a useful addition, but I would have preferred more details here – the vary basic details would not have impressed me too much!“What next?” covers local support, online guides, collections of Internet guides and training resources, and Internet books and magazines. The authors conclude with useful definitions of the jargon likely to be encountered by the Internet user.

By concentrating on established, stable and general sources, which are unlikely to change their URL or their coverage greatly, the authors have ensured that this edition will be valid for a few years without the need for major revision.

The authors have done the UK further and higher education community a great service in this latest edition, presenting sufficient information in a structured manner to enable students to get started with reasonable confidence, enabling them to develop their Internet skills and interests whatever course they may be studying.

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