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Magazines > Online > Nov/Dec 2003
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Online Magazine
Vol. 27 No. 6 — Nov/Dec 2003
Recommended Reading on Webmastering, Classification, and Legal Issues
By Deborah Lynne Wiley
Next Wave Consulting, Inc.

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Featured Books:
Building & Running a Successful Research Business
Designing with Web Standards
Enterprise Knowledge Portals
Federal Regulatory Research: Selected Agency Knowledge Paths

This month I look at a book to get you into Webmastering, if you haven't dabbled yet, a quick look at the state of classifying electronic resources, and then some legal issues for libraries and e-mail management.

Building & Running a Successful Research Business
by Mary Ellen Bates, edited by Reva Basch
ISBN: ISBN:0-910965-62-5
Published: 2003
Pages: 488 pp.; softcover
Price: $29.95

Available from: CyberAge Books, 143 Old Marlton Pike, Medford, NJ 08055;
800/300-9868 or 609/654-6266;

Everyone thinking about becoming an independent information professional should buy this book—and those who already are probably should, too. The author, a well-known speaker, author, info pro, and ONLINE magazine columnist, distills her years of experience into this easy-to-read book.

The book is divided into three sections. The first, "Getting Started" focuses on helping you determine if this business is right for you. Bates provides tips on how to structure and set up your business. Also included here are descriptions of a day in the life and lots of personal considerations to help you determine if you are suited for independent work.

The second and third sections focus on running the business, with discussions on finding and managing clients, proposal writing and marketing, billing and debt collection, setting rates, and professional development. Most of the information here applies to any independent worker, not just an information researcher.

The last section focuses on the actual processes of conducting research. Here, you get an idea of the range of services you can offer and how to get started in a particular area. The focus is more on general methodologies rather than specific resources, providing enough details to give you an idea of the work and resources required.

This is a great book for those wanting to manage an information-related business. You feel you have a coach and mentor to answer all those questions that normally are learnt in the school of hard knocks.


Designing with Web Standards
Jeffrey Zeldman
ISBN: 0-7357-1201-8
Published: 2003
Pages: 436 pp.; softcover
Price: $35

Available from: New Riders,
201 W. 103rd St., Indianapolis, IN 46290; 800/571-5840 or 317/581-3500;

Ah, the ever-changing Web. Here is a book to help move your Web site to the next level. The author, a co-founder of the Web Standards Project and a Web designer himself, is a great proponent of using standards to make your information accessible to all browsers and all users. This book is a blueprint to convert your site from HTML to XHTML 1.0 Transitional.

The main purpose of the book is to convince you to strip all the presentation-based HTML coding from your Web site and replace it with the much more user-friendly and standards-approved cascading style sheets (CSS). The goal is to have a standards-based Web where the same code is displayed the same way in all browsers.

Wisely, the author acknowledges that we are not there yet. However, he spends a lot of time convincing you that conforming to the new standards is so much better and ultimately easier and cheaper than continuing to code for specific browsers. He supplies examples of sites that are accessible to all browsers, albeit at different levels, depending on the ability of the browser to interpret CSS.

The time has come for sites to be upgraded. The combination of ease of maintenance and the improved accessibility for those with disabilities should make the effort to implement the changes proposed in this book well worth the effort.


* **
Enterprise Knowledge Portals
by Heidi Collins
ISBN: 0-8144-0708-0
Published: 2003
Pages: 430 pp.; hardcover
Price: $35

Available from: AMACOM,
American Management Association,
1601 Broadway, New York, NY 10019; 212/903-8315;

This hefty book, written by the executive director of architect services at InfoImage and author of the 2001 AMACOM book Corporate Portals, is a must-read if you are thinking about knowledge management within your organization. The focus is on supporting the business processes and mission of the organization by using technology to seamlessly connect people, processes, and content assets.

The book is divided into three parts. The first describes portals and what they can do. The second focuses on defining the requirements of the portal within your environment, and the third discusses the methodologies to implement the portal. For each step, the author has included a number of questionnaires and surveys to help you ask the right questions within your organization and to include the right people to manage and implement the projects.

The process of creating an enterprise-wide portal can be daunting, so the author breaks it down into discrete projects. She warns you to focus initially on those areas where the work processes clearly show inefficiencies or gaps that can be addressed by the portal. It is important to demonstrate a return on investment for the effort involved in creating the portal.

I found the layout of the book a little confusing. A fictitious company is used as an example throughout the book and material is often repeated—first in the general section and then immediately after in the example. The example is so general that it is not really very useful. Still, the processes that are described here are the best reason to buy the book. It will guide you first through the thought processes that are required to create a successful enterprise knowledge portal.


*** *
Federal Regulatory Research: Selected Agency Knowledge Paths
edited by Rachel W. Jones
ISBN: 0-7890-2041-6
Published: 2003
Pages: 123 pp.; softcover
Price: $24.95

Available from: The Haworth Information Press, 10 Alice Street, Binghamton, NY 13904; 800/429-6784 or 607/722-5857;

This brief book is a godsend to those needing information from the U.S. federal government, but not familiar with where to start. The maze of government information and regulations can be quite overwhelming without someone to point out the major resources. Each of the seven chapters is written by a different member of the Law Librarians' Society of Washington, D.C., who routinely must deal with federal regulations.

The chapters vary quite a bit in style and substance. A few, such as those covering education, the Federal Reserve System, and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, are quite narrative, with URLs and resources scattered throughout the text. Others, such as the ones on the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Justice, are more annotated lists of links and resources. The remaining two, the Federal Trade Commission and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, fall somewhere in the middle.

All the chapters will provide a good start to finding appropriate resources from these particular government entities. I only wish the rest of the U.S. government departments and agencies were included.

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