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Millions of users, hundreds of thousands of sites, and 50 million Web pages (conservative estimate), driving close to a billion page requests a day. If you're trying to get a handle on this mind-boggling entity, here's an eclectic assembly of practical books to help you. They'll help you understand the Web, find the information you're looking for, use it effectively as a practical business tool, even create your own content. 
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Building Cyberstores : Installation, Transaction Processing, and Management

by Martin Nemzow

 Bk&Cd-Rom Edition 

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Internet Books Editor's Recommended Book, 09/01/97:
Martin Nemzow's objective in Building Cyberstores is to show how to build a fully-functioning commercial site online. They'll take you beyond cataloging products and services, to taking and tracking orders, providing online help, tracking customer activity, linking productively with all relevant databases, and generally providing a customer with complete service from initial inquiry to delivery. Its focus, however, is not on how to construct the various pages of a site so much as how to plan and program a cyberstore in a fashion that integrates well with a company's total operations. For that reason, Nemzow begins with a discussion of HTML and database integration, starting with the site strategy and customer demographics. He goes on to explore the pros and cons of platform choices but spends the bulk of his efforts on service implementation. Budgets, domain registration, and legal issues such as reuse of older content receive attention, as do issues of site security, enabling the site for electronic commerce, and integration with financial software. Case studies of a wide variety of sites--ranging from not-for-profit organizations to major manufacturers and from catalog merchandisers to a Web mall and online gaming service--show how the various programming principles work in action. The enclosed CD-ROM includes a copy of the book, a variety of resource files, order entry form templates, tools for gathering customer data, and other Web site development tools. 


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The Microsoft Network for Dummies (For Dummies)

by Doug Lowe

 2nd Edition 

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Internet Books Editor's Recommended Book, 09/01/97:
There are no surprises in this introduction to the Microsoft Network (MSN). Like all the books in the Dummies series it's clear, funny, simple, irreverent, and free of technotalk. The style is breezy and personable, as if a good friend were walking you through MSN, showing you just enough of everything so that you get the idea and moving on before you get bored. Lowe has grouped his 25 chapters into seven parts--each introduced by one of those great Rich Tennant cartoons. Part one provides a rapid overview of MSN and describes how to sign up, connect, and move around the service. Part two demonstrates the main information and entertainment areas of MSN, from MSNBC news to various special-interest areas covering music, home matters, self-improvement, kids stuff, financial resources and more. Part three shows how to interact with other members through real-time chats and bulletin board-type forums. Part four focuses on MSN online activities, such as shopping, managing investments and planning travel. Part five demonstrates how to step out onto the Internet, complete with Lowe's recommendations of Internet sites not to be missed. Part six tells how to customize MSN. (Parents whose children will be using the service should pay special attention to the section on parental controls.) Part seven deals with things that are most likely to go wrong and how to avoid them. 


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Dummies 101 : Netscape Communicator 4

by Hy Bender, Margaret Levine Young, Margy Levine Young

 Bk&Disk Edition 
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Internet Books Editor's Recommended Book, 09/01/97:
The successful "For Dummies" series has been described as "a reference for the rest of us." Now IDG books presents a companion series called "Dummies 101," which are tutorials with lessons that build upon each other and plenty of hands-on exercises. Among the first in this series is Netscape Communicator 4. The first half of the book offers instruction in installing and using the Navigator browser. The second half explores the e-mail, newsgroups, and Web page editor modules included with Communicator. Each chapter has quizzes and exercises to help ensure that the material is understood, and each larger section has tests and "lab assignments." Lab assignments include exploring Web directories with Navigator and organizing bookmarks. One simple yet exceedingly useful feature of the book is that the margins are ruled like notebook paper, which invites learners to jot down notes or things to remember. This is possibly the single best book to hand someone who is a relative beginner on the Web and new to Netscape Communicator. The book includes a CD-ROM with software. 


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World Wide Web Searching for Dummies (For Dummies)

by Brad Hill

 2Nd/Bk&Cd Edition 
Paperback, 384 pages;

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Internet Books Editor's Recommended Book, 09/01/97:
If you've ever found yourself at a Web search engine wondering who the heck Boolean is and why he's bothering you when you're trying to get your research done, welcome to the book that will change all of that. The "For Dummies" series is almost uniformly excellent--despite the title. They claim to be "a reference for the rest of us"--the rest of us apparently includes people who need clear and simple language that is alternately reassuring, amusing and helpful. This approach to teaching people how to manage the information glut on the Web starts with some of the basics of searching, including how to define and use keywords, what the main Web directories offer, and more about the Boolean search criteria. The book then covers major search directories and engines such as Yahoo!, Lycos, Excite, OpenText, AltaVista, Infoseek, Hotbot and DejaNews. Each of these directories has slightly different ways to define and refine searches, and this is a terrific round-up of how each of them operates. Hill then presents a discussion of how to search in various subject matter areas such as health, education, culture, news, entertainment, finances, sports and kid's interests. He also explores how to search for shareware or freeware files and how to do people-searching. The book closes with the traditional Dummies Part of Tens, including Ten Interesting Web Directories, Ten Reference Sites, Ten Tips for Fast Searching and Ten Great Web Magazines and Newspapers. The book includes a CD-ROM with software. 


 
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Tech Girl's Internet Adventures

by Girl Tech

 Bk&Cd-Rom Edition 
Paperback, 192 pages;

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Internet Books Editor's Recommended Book, 09/01/97:
Nominally an introduction to the Internet for girls in early adolescence, this book uses the Internet as a springboard to engage girls' interest in science and technology. As an Internet guide, it incorporates everything you'd expect to see, including an overview of the Net, discussions of nettiquette, and information on basic safety, as well as more than 100 top-notch girl-friendly sites dealing with entertainment, arts, health, science, play, and meeting other girls. The carefully selected sites are engaging and entertaining as well educational, although there are a few that are just plain silly fun. But the Girl Tech crew also offers activities for readers. For example, after noting that the National Inventor's Hall of Fame site is woefully short on women inventors and seeking woman nominees, the book talks about some other female inventors and encourages readers to find and nominate their own favorites. Activities range from things that can be done online (like enjoyable research or e-mail projects) to ways to use the information learned online elsewhere (such as learning sign language, or recording a day in photographs). The mini-profiles of several "girls" on the Net--from major corporation executives to other 11-year-olds--offer good role models for girls just entering online. 

The publisher, IDG Books:

Girls often seem left out of the Internet and computing revolution sweeping over the world nowadays. Tech Girl's Internet Adventures challenges this "no-girls-allowed" bastion with introductions to over 200 Web sites specially selected for their appeal to girls aged 8 and older. Plus, engaging, full-color illustrations and profiles of exemplary role models leave no doubt in girls' minds that women play essential parts in our technological world -- and that they lead exciting, meaningful lives. In addition to the accompanying bonus CD-ROM, which features software and ready-to-use icons, graphics, and templates for girls to use in creating their own home pages, Tech Girl's Internet Adventures has its own Web site. Girls can visit the Girl Tech Web Site for all the latest news and updates of special interest to them.

"Tech Girl's Internet Adventures [is] for parents eager to give an intelligent alternative to Barbie."
San Jose Mercury News


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Using Netscape : Communicator 4

by Peter Kent

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More like an extended manual than a tutorial, Using Netscape Communicator 4 guides you through each one of Communicator's components and teaches you how to use Communicator to access all of the Internet's resources. The writing is conversational and easy to read, and the book breaks out key tips and full explanations of various features and marks them with icons. If you prefer a more structured tutorial or a more easily accessible reference, this may not be the best book for you. However, if you follow each chapter's discussion while you are in front of the keyboard, you will progress faster than you will with most other texts.

 Chapter topics range from the basics, such as installing and customizing your Web browser, to more detailed information about the Communicator's features and the varied sources of information available on the Internet. The third part of the book in particular is devoted to resources outside the Web. This section contains a bevy of information on FTP, Gopher, Finger, and Telnet, as well as instructions on how to use the Messenger, Collabra, Conference, and Netcaster components of Communicator. Other topics include home page design, installing and configuring plug-ins and helper applications, and an overview of some of the major file types you'll find on the Web.

 Advanced users will want a more reference-oriented guide to Communicator, and complete beginners might benefit more from a structured tutorial. However, intermediate and casual users who are familiar with the Web will get a lot out of this book. If you want to get more out of the Internet and introduce yourself to Communicator at the same time, Using Netscape Communicator 4 will make a good addition to your shelf. 

Internet Books Editor's Recommended Book, 09/01/97:
Most of the current crop of books on Communicator attempt to document every single last feature. Most have trouble doing it in less than 800-1000 pages. If you want something shorter that covers the waterfront, Using Netscape Communicator 4 is a good choice. The first section does a good job covering the features and capabilities of the Navigator browser. In the second section, topics move on to understanding aspects of multimedia, security, Java and ActiveX. The third section is an overview of what is available beyond the Web: Netcaster channels of "push" media, FTP, Gopher, Finger, Telnet, e-mail with the Messenger program, newsgroups with Collabra, and real-time voice and collaboration abilities with the Conference program. The final section discusses using Communicator's Composer Web editor to create and maintain Web pages. I particularly liked the approach taken in the third section, which helps newer users to understand that the Internet is so much more than the Web itself. There are excellent chapters on the powerful ways bookmarks and histories can be managed. Another highlight is the chapter on the security features of Communicator, which includes an excellent discussion of encryption and personal certificates. The author doesn't toss around terms without explaining them, and his explanations are a study in explaining new and sometimes difficult concepts with the least amount of words. This is not a comprehensive reference tool, but it would probably be used more often. 


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Internet Security - Professional Reference

by Joel Snyder, Tom Sheldon, Tim Petru

 2nd Bk&Cd- Edition 
Paperback, 900 pages;

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Internet Books Editor's Recommended Book, 09/01/97:
This is a big book--more than 850 pages. And the type is small, too. It has precisely what's needed to pack a comprehensive resource on Internet security into a single volume. The authors don't waste space on philosophizing or lecturing about security--they simply lay out what a site manager needs to know, beginning with the basics of TCP/IP. The book presents a five-part approach. Part one deals with security management, including TCP/IP, daemons, UUCP, and audit trails. Part two switches perspectives to that of the intruder, showing ways of gaining illicit accesses and how attempts to do so can be thwarted. Part three examines the challenges of creating secure channels for messaging. Part four shows how to deal with security concerns raised by Windows NT, Java, and various viruses. Part five contains the appendices, offering an array of security references and resources where site managers can find further and updated information. While the need to cram such a vast storehouse of information into the books rarely allows for a relaxed style of exposition, the authors have done a fine job of keeping explanations clear and useful to even novice site managers. 


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The Big Guide to Netscape Communicator 4

by Brad Harris, Bill Vernon

 Paperback, 700 pages;

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Internet Books Editor's Recommended Book, 09/01/97:
At over 800 pages, it's big. Very big. But Netscape Communicator itself is big, and it takes a big book to effectively describe it all. This guide balances comprehensiveness with clear, simple explanations and step-by-step instructions. After an introduction to Communicator and instructions for installation, the book moves on to sections about each of the components of Communicator: Navigator (browser), Messenger (e-mail), Collabra (newgroups), Conference (real-time multi-user exchanges), Composer (Web editor), and Netcaster ("push" media). There is also a section on the professional edition of Communicator and its features. The book goes on to discussions of multimedia, plug-ins, Java, helper applications and user profiles. There's a short but cogent section on security, and a sneak peek at the next generation of Web tools that Netscape is working on. The chapters on Conference and Netcaster are particularly excellent, too. Approximately 150 pages are set asides as a yellow pages of recommended Web sites from Infoseek. A good glossary and excellent index (much needed in a book this size) rounds out an impressive work about Communicator. 


 
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Building Net Sites With Windows Nt : An Internet Services Handbook

by Jim Buyens

 Bk&Cd-Rom Edition 
Paperback;

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