or, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Fear and Loathing at a Public Library Reference Desk

How To Search The Web (in 2000)

   July 1st, 2010

We just subscribed to the Safari computer ebooks database, so I started weeding our print computer book collection. It's a heavily-used collection, but I found a few books that made me laugh.

Not that they were bad books, just out-of-date for the computer field. Case in point is How to search the web, edited by Robert S. Want, ©2000. Flipping through it was a walk down memory lane - heck, right on the cover were listed search engines that I used to use a lot and now had forgotten about (but I do miss Infoseek):

How to search the web book cover

The book itself was obviously useful in its time, and now is an interesting look back at the past. Among other information, it contains b&w screenshots of each of the search engines' homepages, reminding us what the web looked like 10 years ago - directory browsing is certainly less popular these days:

Yahoo homepage 2000
Internet Archive, 7/6/00
Yahoo Today
Ask Jeeves
Ask Jeeves homepage 2000
Internet Archive, 7/6/00
Ask Jeeves Today (ask.com)
AltaVista homepage 2000
Internet Archive, 7/6/00
AltaVista Today

And this was on the shelf in a library that weeds regularly - who knows what gems are waiting in larger libraries that have the space to keep lots of things.

On another note, my parents will be visiting for the Fourth of July, so I won't be posting again until later next week. I hope you have a good holiday (non-Americans, I hope your regular days are good, too).

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8 Responses to “How To Search The Web (in 2000)”

  1. Winnie Says:

    Happy Canada Day! Hope your Fourth of July weekend is fun and fine.

  2. Davin Says:

    I like the banner ad for Britney Spears on the Yahoo homepage. Some things don’t change as much as one might think…

  3. Marcie Says:

    You should submit this to Awful Library Books (http://awfullibrarybooks.wordpress.com/). It’s a nice reminder that weeding is not a one-time thing; it should be a constant process. Then maybe you won’t find too many of these gems.

  4. Brian Herzog Says:

    @Winnie: Happy Canada Day to you too!

    @Davin: That did make me laugh – I never would have guessed she’s been around for 10 years.

    @Marcie: good idea, I just submitted it. Although, this one is less awful and more just out of date. I need to remember to send them the awful ones I find.

  5. Oleg K. Says:

    Good timing! Only a month ago I weeded our massive – and mostly outdated – computer book section. During the process I ran into such rare gems as “Programming the 386” (and 486), programming FORTRAN, all kinds of DOS books, Windows 3.1 for Dummies, Wordstar, and generally guides to programs that are 20-30 years old (some of which only work on computers whose displays on have two colors). It quickly became clear that the section had not been weeded for a decade or more. Consequently, our shelves were looking so empty that I felt I had to replenish our computer book collection.

    The whole experience was amusing and poignant especially considering that I’ll have to do it again in 4 months. Ah, technology.

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