Reviewed by Dean Tudor
Dictionary of the Internet
Oxford University Press
2001, 340pp, 16.99 pounds sterling, ISBN 0-19-280124-4 paper covers
Ince, an academic teaching computer, is the author of over 28 books
in the field. This dictionary has about 3600 entries, mostly jargon
from networking and Internet usage, with many abbreviations and
technical terms (derived from TCP/IP protocols). Areas covered include
email, web, ecommerce, security, intranets. There are internal cross-references
to other entries. Typical words include handshake, route tracing,
asynchronous learning, and copycat page. Among the abbreviations
are all the popular chat room/forum phrases. However, while there
is RTM (Read the Manual)-a phrase I have NEVER EVER seen - there
is no mention of what I have seen: RTFM (which inserts the appropriate
word F*cking). In addition, a section on emoticons only shows ten
of them. The accompanying CD-ROM of eight megabytes has the full
text of the book, with hyperlinks between entries and to external
websites. Its website at Oxford has all the updates since 2000 (www.askoxford.com/worldofwords/internet).
While these can be downloaded, they cannot be added to the CD-ROM.
Here, you can toggle between UK and US viewpoints, and you can check
out links to the OED, Quotations, and History of English. Ince also
produces research (on the website) which shows that the Internet
leads to a brand of English that suppresses local variations.
Some interesting facts: Internet words do manage to make it into
regular English dictionaries.
What I don't like about this resource: most print entries have
the word LINK in them, which takes up space and means nothing in
the book; it refers only to the CD-ROM, which, by the way, cannot
be loaded onto the hard drive - it must remain in the bay.
What I do like about this resource: definitions are succinct, with
no derivation or history.
Quality-to-Price Ratio: 83.
The Book of the Year
Abrief history of our seasonal holidays
Oxford University Press
2003, 192pp, $25US, ISBN 0-19-515024-4
Aveni, Professor of Astronomy and Anthropology at Colgate University,
has crafted a readable narrative which traces the origins of our
modern holidays. American modern holidays, to be precise, although
some are celebrated round the world. Round the Christian world,
to be precise. No harm in this, but the book needs to be more upfront
about these cultural restrictions. Not even Canada is included in
the "American modern holidays" listing. There are no entries
for Canada in the index, and of course the gap widens when Aveni
discusses Thanksgiving Day as a strictly US thing. Indeed, he characterizes
Labour Day (or is that "Labor Day"?) as "exclusively
American". Hel-lo!! The European equivalent is May Day, which
gets a good discourse in the chapter on May. His book is chronologically
arranged, by month, in narrative form. He focuses on the involvement
of food (e.g., Easter eggs, turkey), games (football at Thanksgiving),
rituals (New Year resolutions), characters (Santa Claus, Easter
bunny), and the impact of the changing calendar through the seasons.
First up is New Years Day. He traces the development of celebrating,
noting that in 153 BCE the Romans declared that the New Year began
when the sun came back after the winter solstice, to appear as the
first crescent moon after the winter solstice. The Christians stuck
to the first day of spring as a new year until 1564 in Catholic
France and 1752 in Protestant England. April Fools Day developed
from those "fools" who still celebrated the New Year after
March 24 or so. The rest of the book goes on to deal with Groundhog's
Day, St.Valentine, Easter, Halloween, Christmas, plus the two equinoxes
and the two solstices and whatever else I have already mentioned.
Throughout it all there are the issues of divination, calendars,
astronomy, fertility, foods, rites, sex and death, all filtered
through the Greco-Roman-Judaic-Christian tradition.
Some interesting facts: the Library of Congress has assigned a
number of subject headings to this book, such as "Biological
Rhythms", "Chronobiology", and the more apt "Archaeoastronmomy".
What I don't like about this resource: its reference value is impaired
by the narrative. Still, it is a good read.
What I do like about this resource: there are bibliographic references
and notes for further explorations.
Quality-to-Price Ratio: the book is useful for journalists plotting
an annual daybook, looking for seasonal stories. Give it an 88.
The Oxford Guide to Family History
Oxford University Press
1993, 2002, 246pp, $19.95US, ISBN 0-19-280313-1 paper covers
This book was first published in 1993 and revised in 1998. There
is a claim in the book that this is a reissue of the 1998 edition,
although the bibliography seems to be updated through 2001. Strange.
Anyway, Hey has taught local and family history at the University
of Sheffield, and he is the author of other Oxford reference books
in this area. He clearly shows how to trace family origins through
the basics of research: where to begin, where to find records, how
to decipher early styles of handwriting. And, of course, it all
happens in Britain. The first 150 pages is a history of British
family names, mobility and stability of families, society and attitudes,
immigration and emigration. The balance of the book is a guide to
the records that exist in Britain (census, marriage-death-birth
records, trade directories, parish registers, probate records, tax
assessments, military records, apprenticeship, health tax, poll
tax. The work concludes with an index to surnames.
Some interesting facts: A section presents an interesting history
of the movement of Brits around the world.
What I don't like about this resource: it is only useful for poking
around in Britain, although Hey does write about general search
principles that can be applied elsewhere. Maybe if the title had
the word "British" in it
What I do like about this resource: there are many illustrations
of typical documents, archive records, grave markers, people, houses,
estates, and monuments.
Quality-to-Price Ratio: for researching your ancestors in Britain,
give it a 93.
Knowledge Management: the bibliography
Paul R. Burden
2000, 181pp, $22.50US, ISBN 1-57387-101-X paper covers
"Knowledge Management" is a holistic process that demands
organizational commitment. It involves the logical structuring of
information (accession, storage, retrieval, and provision) within
a company, in order to do the most good (i.e., maximize delivery
of profits). Such information sharing can help people save time,
speed work, and lower costs. The bibliography has been based on
an earlier one published in "Knowledge Management for
the Information Professional" in 1999. The basic
procedure has been to search under the two main terms, "Knowledge
Management" and "Intellectual Capital". Thus, Burden
found a total of 2101 references: 404 books in print as of 2000
(through amazon.com and Books in Print), 1505 articles from databases
such as ABI Inform, ERIC, Infotrac, NTIS), 186 websites (with a
slight inconsistency in listing them, and including one FTP site)
viewed from January through July 2000, and 6 videos, really too
slight to matter (and why not also audio tapes?). So then, this
is a useful guide to the pre-2000 burgeoning literature - but with
no annotations. The heart of the bibliography is the section on
articles, subdivided into sixteen categories dealing with information
audits, information technology, intranets, training, ecommerce,
and competitive intelligence. There is no subject index, which is
tough on the books section (at least the articles have been categorized).
Articles are always to be preferred anyway since the titles are
always most specific, e.g. "seven ways to get the skinny on
a company" or "a spy in the boardroom". There is
a database index to indicate where the bibliography was researched.
And there is an author index, which told me that most people wrote
only one article, except for some like Thomas H. Davenport and Lawrence
Prusak who both appear to be the most prolific with nine references.
Paul R. Burden was not even listed
Some interesting facts: you too can update this book through 2004
by using the same steps in the process, namely, searching the same
databases listed with a year parameter (2000 and after). Actually,
the best website with up-to-the-minute information is the KMNetwork,
What I don't like about this resource: I got leery right away when
the contents page reported that there were 3606 citations: they
had counted the articles twice! Also, since the Internet never sleeps,
the websites are probably hopelessly out-of-date by now. This is
not the book's fault: it was copyrighted 2000. A simple Google search
under the two main terms will probably pull up a lot of recent hits.
What I do like about this resource: you can pick a handful of relevant
items and get to them quickly.
Quality-to-Price Ratio: 85.
The Oxford Dictionary of Literary Quotations
Oxford University Press
1997, 2003, 490pp, $48, ISBN 0-19-866281-5
Peter Kemp is currently Fiction Editor of the Sunday Times
and a former academic. He leads a team of seven in the sourcing
and culling of literary quotes. The current edition has about 4000
quotations, all arranged by subject in one alphabetical sequence
blending topics and authors, with a chronological arrangement within
each subject. Over 900 additions are new. There has been a general
modernizing with contemporary references to Harry Potter and to
Inspector Morse. More quotes have been added from the Colonies (North
America and Australia). New themes since 1997 include Solitude,
Interruption, Omission, Graffiti, and Epitaphs. Cross-references
are included, e.g., Mystery see Crime and Mystery; Humour and Comedy
see also Irony, Wit and Satire. The source materials range
from classical literature through crime novels through journalism.
Themes cover the literary life, individual writers, morality, death,
characters, words, ballads, science fiction. It is still an eclectic
work, a book to dip into when looking for the bon mot.
Some interesting facts: most people are only in once, although
Ian McEwan has 11 quotes, Milton has 24, and Shakespeare and Shaw
a lot more.
What I don't like about this resource: one didn't need to be a literary
type to be in here. For example, there is a quote from Marilyn Monroe
on men and poetry which gives her life dates and the date the quote
was made but not where it was made (diary? article? said to who?
where? why?). Other quotes are equally vague.
What I do like about this resource: there is an extensive keyword
index and an author index referring to page and quote number.
Quality-to-Price Ratio: 90.
The Original Canadian City Dweller's Almanac
facts, rants, anecdotes and unsupported assertions for urban residents
Hal Niedzviecki and Darren Wershler-Henry
2002, 246pp, $25, ISBN 0-670-04338-9 paper covers
This is a fun survival guide to the Canadian city: how we live,
what we do, who we are, everything that defines the Canadian urban
dweller. As such, it might not be interesting to ex-urbanites or
even to those who like in other cities not mentioned nor covered.
Niedzviecki is a novelist and commentator, editor of Broken Pencil
magazine. Wershler-Henry is a critic, editor and author of five
books. Some - maybe most -of this highly eclectic book had originally
appeared in The Globe and Mail, Geist, This Magazine, Masthead,
and other magazines. Chapters are arranged by theme, with breakdowns
for each appropriate or relevant city. They deal with the bad stuff
first: alienation, mental illness, crime, racism. All of these exist
in rural areas too, but they are highly magnified in an urban setting.
The chapters hit the highlights of most major urban areas in Canada.
Other topics include transportation (traffic, public transit, rollerblading),
tools such as ATMs and cell phones, drugs, coffee, web cams surveying
the cityscapes. Attractions have a section: where to party, hangouts,
sports, sex, food, restaurants, recipes (macaroni and cheese), shopping
at box stores and malls, bookstores, record stores (both vinyl and
CD). There are major chapters on real estate (apartments, landlords,
condominiums but not developers nor office towers) and politics.
There is even a "Today in History" calendar, with birthdays
and events for each day in the year. If I missed anything, then
go ahead and pick it out of the generous index. Everything here
is well written; these are well-told stories.
Some interesting facts: the section on watering holes has a nifty
history of bars in Canada, don't overlook this chapter. Similarly,
there are short histories of Canadian TV and magazines.
What I don't like about this resource: the endnotes are mainly
changeable websites. Overall, this is a depressing book.
What I do like about this resource: there are various lists such
as Ten Top School Supplies and Top Ten Fizzy Drinks.
Quality-to-Price Ratio: 91, as an enjoyable read and source for
Oxford Dictionary of Proverbs
Oxford University Press
1982, 1992, 1998, 2003, 375pp, $39.95, ISBN 0-19-860524-2
For a book of pithy proverbs, this reference tool sure gets "updated"
Speake is the editor of the Oxford Dictionary of Foreign
Words and Phrases and the Oxford Dictionary of Idioms. Here,
a proverb is a common saying that offers advice. It has the status
of a universal truth, and it could be used to prove an argument.
Here are 1100 proverbs, 40 new coinages, and about 400 updated examples,
as well as annotations and current citations from around the English-speaking
world. So there is that limitation of language. Entries are in alphabetical
order, followed by meanings, histories (all dated and sourced),
and current usages. There are plenty of internal and entry cross-references.
Some interesting facts: For the proverb "there is no such
thing as a free lunch", she doesn't give a history. While it
might be useful to economists who coined the phrase, unless you
know what a "free lunch" is, the proverb really has no
meaning. It comes from saloons offering a free lunch to entice drinkers
and to ward off those who opposed straight drinking.
What I don't like about this resource: I found the entry for Parkinson's
Law puzzling. It is listed as "work expands so as to fill the
time available". The complete phrase includes, at the end,
for its completion" What happened here? Also, some
phrases that have quasi-proverb status are not here, such as "Bob's
your uncle". Certainly it fits.
What I do like about this resource: there is an extensive thematic
and keyword index plus a bibliography of major proverb collections
and works cited, although my favourite was not included (Taxi
Driver Wisdom, Chronicle Books, with such as "New shoes
always hurt" and "You're not any safer in First Class")
Quality-to-Price Ratio: 90.
Dewdroppers, Waldos and Slackers
A decade-by-decade guide to the vanishing vocabulary of the Twentieth
Oxford University Press
2003, 239pp, $41.50, ISBN 0-19-516146-7
Ostler is a linguist, a librarian, and a freelance writer in the
field of words. The book's subtitle gives its coverage, to word
and phrases no longer with us (in the sense that hardly anybody
ever uses them anymore and few know their original meanings). Almost
3000 such words are covered here, and they are mainly North American
white slang from fads and trends that came out of technology, music,
the armed forces, rhymes, and animals. There is neither jargon nor
ethnic slang in this book. Quick definitions are given, so there
is little etymology. For instance, she says that "groovy"
(a word that is also now coming back) originated from "in the
groove", but she does not say that "in the groove"
is a musical reference to the grooves of a 78-RPM shellac record.
"Hubba-hubba" has no reference to the Perry Como monster
hit. Some explanations seem incomplete and ask more questions than
they answer. For example, for "dime novel" she says that
most of them cost only a nickel. So why did the term "dime"
get used? Why not "nickel novel" (same beginning consonant,
two syllables each, words end in "-l")? No answers
page 213 she lists some "goodbye" equivalents. And there
are some that didn't make this list, although they are in the main
body by decade. She uses "toodle-pip" but ignores "toodle-doo"
(from her chapter on the 1920s). She uses "see you in the funny
papers!" which evolved into "see you at the movies!".
She ignores "it's been a slice" (1990s) and "bye-ee"
(1970s). She also fails to note when some words come back, such
as 1920s' "lounge lizard".
The book is arranged in chronological order. Each chapter covers
a decade, although 1900 - 1919 was done in one. The chapters begin
with a linguistic, historical and sociological snapshot for the
decade. All the words are in the index, in alphabetical order, so
you just need to look up a word and then go to the appropriate page
to view it in context. There is an extensive bibliography to references.
The major source seems to be the journal "American Speech".
Some interesting facts: it is important to note that some words
keep coming back to life, with newer meanings.
What I don't like about this resource: she does the 1990s, but
this decade is still too close for vanishing words. Also, the word
inventory is distinctly American: there are many words and phrases
here from the past 50 years that I have never, ever heard of.
What I do like about this resource: Ostler does a good job with
a nearly impossible task
Quality-to-Price Ratio: this is an excellent book for journalists-writers,
as a source of ideas and as a verification tool. 95.
Word for Word
Stewart Clark and Graham Pointon
Oxford University Press
2003, 250pp, ISBN 0-19-432755-8 paper covers
The authors, both academics, try to explain the differences between
word usages. Here are about 3000 examples that are confusing because
they look alike, sound alike, or seem alike. Entries are alphabetically
arranged, and words are grouped together for easy comparison. Each
entry has definitions, sample sentences, spelling and pronunciation
guides, and usage advice. There are indications for American English
(AE) and British English (BE). About 100 sidebars cover topics such
as the major overall differences between AE and BE, tips on language
traps, genitive cases. There is good coverage of homographs (words
that are spelled the same but mean different things).
Some examples: Asian (for people) and Asiatic (for geography),
ability and capacity, cite - site - sight, choose - select - pick,
interval (BE) and intermission (AE), responsible and accountable,
scissors and pair of scissors, pore and pour.
Some interesting facts: the authors deal with the use of the semi-colon
(now in decline) and other punctuation marks.
What I don't like about this resource: it still takes some guesswork
to look things up since there is only one entry, e.g., abuse and
misuse. There is neither entry nor cross-reference back from "misuse"
to "abuse". You have to use the index to catch this usage.
What I do like about this resource: there is a goof-proof section
on how to use the book, as well as a nice bibliography of 26 items.
Quality-to-Price Ratio: 90.
Where is Here?
Canada's maps and the stories they tell
2002, 256pp, $35, ISBN 0-14-301351-3
Morantz was a former editor of Equinox and is now a freelance
writer. This book is a continuation of research that he did as a
project for Canadian Geographic magazine's 70th anniversary
issue, a special issue on mapping. Morantz tries to show how maps
and the art of map-making have shaped us as Canadians and what they
reveal of who we are. Maps are the sources of comfort: where are
we? here! (okay, so where is here?). Canada's most enduring heroes
are not revolutionaries but explorers, such as La Verendrye, David
Thompson, et al. These were the guys who made the early maps. And
I remember this from school in the 1950s. But teaching these themes
may have been because they were safer and easier than teaching about
revolution and change. Morantz begins with aborigines who charted
the lands with stories, songs and stones. He then introduces an
eclectic selection of Canadian maps, commenting on how the map was
produced, what and whose reality did it reflect. He includes New
France, missionaries, the strive for a western passage, land surveyors,
census maps, road maps, "pictorial maps" of towns in book
form, comparative maps, aerial maps, and orienteering maps. Place
names are also covered, but just in passing.
Some interesting facts: the appendix is an interesting timeline
of significant dates in Canadian surveying, mapping and charting,
adapted from a 1996 book.
What I don't like about this resource: its reference value is slight
What I do like about this resource: there are illustrations of
aboriginal drawings and pictographs. The book is well written; it
Quality-to-Price Ratio: as a regular book, 88. Reference value,
COMPUTER BOOKS FOR JOURNALISTS
The Canadian Oxford Dictionary CD-ROM
Oxford University Press
2001, CD-ROM plus booklet manual, ISBN 0-19-541800-X
Well, it took me four tries to install it. The screen froze twice
and my laptop crashed once. Sources' Publisher himself
tried twice before abandoning it. Nevertheless, I got it, and I
didn't first have to unload other programs from memory. The problem
maybe with the iFinger software: although the manual says you need
Internet access, you only need it to get to the iFinger site for
updates to the software program, not to the dictionary. You don't
need to go to the Oxford site, for there are no updates on that
site. All of the data are on the hard drive. The user interface
is a small text box, which can be closed or opened easily. The text
is the complete Canadian Oxford Dictionary, which can now
be used in different modes and ways. Access is by holding the cursor
over a word in a document or an Internet site. The word appears
in the box, and a click pops up the COD entry. You
can also just type the word in the box, or you can select with keystrokes
and by highlighting. There is built-in access to when a definition
refers to another entry, via hyperlink. The text can be copied from
the COD to your document or to your printer. Only
headwords in the COD are retrieved. Derivatives and
inflections go to the base word. Compounds will go to the first
word clicked, followed by the next word. For example, "cold
fusion" will produce "chicken cold" and "cold
fusion". Homographs are presented one after another. And the
dictionary is not case sensitive. You can even add your own entries
to the dictionary file (but not to the COD itself).
You create your own lookup database or import from a plain text
Some interesting facts: the History function goes back beyond 50
word searches, should you need such a record.
What I don't like about this resource: will not work on Windows
95, and you'll need "power-user rights" to run on Windows
NT4/2000. Also, the clicking feature does not work on non-Internet
Explorer browsers; you'll have to enter the word manually.
What I do like about this resource: creating your own dictionary
expands the use of the software to just one lookup. It is also easy
Quality-to-Price Ratio: depends on your installation problems,
Internet Marketing Intelligence
Research tools, techniques, and resources
2003, 224pp, ISBN 0-07-282111-6 paper covers
Forrest is a business professor at the University of Alaska. This
basic text should tell one how to use the Internet for market research.
He uses a lot of sophisticated data gathering and use of analysis
tools. The major topics are competitive intelligence, consumer intelligence,
environmental intelligence, and the use of marketing tools (survey,
focus groups, product testing). He covers the basics of email, search
engines, cookies, server log files, newsgroups and discussion groups,
as well as data sources available (with tests for reliability and
validity). He also deals with the issues of "law and ethics",
with material on user privacy, consumer protection, data security,
intellectual property, fair use, trademarks and copyrights.
Some interesting facts: the illustrative material includes many
What I don't like about this resource: while it has material on
how to use the Internet more effectively, it has a narrow, academic
range for journalists, and even for some PR types.
What I do like about this resource: plenty of references for further
reading, plus an important glossary.
Quality-to-Price Ratio: 85.
Intelligent Technologies in Library and Information
F.W. Lancaster and Amy Warner
2001, 214pp, ISBN 1-57387-103-6
Lancaster is a major writer and award winner in the area of information
technology; he is now a professor emeritus at the University of
Illinois. Warner is his associate. This is a technical study, funded
by the Special Libraries Association, surveying the applications
of Artificial Intelligence (AI) to library information service
environments. Much of the existing literature is speculative, but
not so the applications. The object of the study was to identify
what AI apps can be applied to libraries, what is available and
operational now. Lancaster and Warner look at different cataloguing
systems, "intelligent" indexing, referral systems in a
reference context, database selection, information retrieval text
processing, machine translation, intelligent interfaces, medical
diagnosis, speech technology, computer vision scanning.
Some interesting facts: the idea here is to have the computer use
an expert system to identify problems and propose solutions, a sort
What I don't like about this resource: Google's AI computerized
ranking schemes was not covered.
What I do like about this resource: appendices include "sources
for keeping current with new developments in advanced technologies',
which are mainly scholarly journals and websites.
Quality-to-Price Ratio: 81.
Writing for the Information Age
2002, various pagings, $34.99, ISBN 0-393-04786-5
The subtitle of this book is "light, layered, and linked",
and that is about it. A lot of this used to be called "chunk
writing", a term that came into use during the early web days.
Website creators were obsessed with retaining eyeballs, and they
wanted all the important writing restricted to one webpage viewed
as a screen shot with no scrolling. It was an advance on USA
Today's snapshot journalism. Keep the story short and simple
(KISS), or later day pyramid writing. Ross-Larson is founder of
the American Writing Institute and author of other Norton books
(Edit Yourself [don't you wish], Riveting Reports
[as if], Effective Writing). Here are 100 or so techniques
for engaging readers in the information age, to produce writing
that allows them to find quickly and easily what might be of interest.
He describes each technique in a nutshell (literally), and provides
examples and comments. Each technique is on two pages, left and
right hand sides (convenient to photocopy once under fair use),
with appropriate cross-references to related material in the book
and elsewhere. There are also plenty of screen shots for illustrative
examples. Some techniques include attention-sustaining devices (engaging
titles, light openings, revealing headlines, bulleted lists, pull
quotes), structure (solve a problem, illustrate a concept, tell
a story, open a pyramid), paragraphing (short leads, verb forms,
asking questions), sentences, words and phrases. He concludes with
bibliographic endnotes for sources and credits for the technologies,
plus an index.
Some interesting facts: the basic idea is to organize content in
progressive form, with easily digested details for the reader to
consider and then to provide a link to other topics.
What I don't like about this resource: not for beginners. One still
needs grounding in the rules of grammar and parsing.
What I do like about this resource: he practices in this book what
he preaches. It is extremely useful for journalists contemplating
web writing, emailed newsletters, and CD-ROMs.
Quality-to-Price Ratio: 95.
The Web Library
Building a world-class personal library with free web resources
Nicholas G. Tomaiuolo
2004, 408pp, $44.95, ISBN 0-910965-67-6 paper covers
Nick Tomaiuolo is a college librarian in Connecticut; he is also
obsessed with finding free information on the Web. I really want
to like this book, but currently its Web site has all of the links,
and you can download the source documents. Try library.ccsu.edu/library/tomaiuolo/theweblibrary.htm.
The site also keeps the book up-to-date, for of course new resources
appear all the time. Pages 361 - 383 have a printed list of all
the referenced websites. For that matter, you can use my own MegaSources
at www.ryerson.ca/~dtudor/megasources.html It's free too...Having
said that, I think that the book is extremely useful for its coverage
of magazine and journal articles (FindArticle, MagPortal, reference
works, online indexes and databases (Medline, ARC, CrossArchiveSearching),
books in etext, newspapers and email news alerts, broadcast archives,
experts and librarians (real people), images, special collections.
His URLs are annotated and he uses screen shots as illustrations.
He gives additional material such as a look behind the scenes of
a newspaper and broadcast news website. He has sidebars of interviews
with people who created websites and reference works. He even discusses
plugins and toolbars, which are needed for advanced searching. The
main sources of free stuff are Project Gutenberg, universities,
government agencies, associations, and commercial sites with adverts.
However - and I cannot emphasize this too strongly as I was a university
professor in this field - you still need to interpret what you find.
Some interesting facts: he compares some pay-per-view services
for their prices. Pay-per-views can be used for FREE as the
article sites allow free indexing and citations. You can save this
as a file and build a bibliography, without having to read - and
pay for - the articles.
What I don't like about this resource: I don't see anything about
RSS, XML, and news aggregators. The book is copyrighted 2004, not
earlier, so time is not an element here.
What I do like about this resource: he points out the limitations
of the free services, although he does have a few disclaimers and
"no liability" statements.
Quality-to-Price Ratio: for the book, 90. Unrated, if you merely
use the website.
Canadian Studients' Guide to Languae, Literature,
Susanne Barclay, Judith Coghill, Peter Weeks, Norm Olding, Don Quinlan
Oxford University Press
2001, 410pp, ISBN 0-19-541675-9
This book is meant for secondary schools, independent use, or small
group study. Its chapters cover poetry (analyzing and responding,
understanding meaning, form, and style), narrative texts (novels
and short stories), drama, essays (articles, reviews, speeches),
personal writing (memoirs, letters, journals, diaries, reflective
essays), reports for business and science, business and technical
writing (including resumes), and media (styles of newspaper writing,
film and video story boards, radio, TV, Internet). In other words,
just about everything except children's books
has sections within which includes definitions, explanations, samples
from professional writers (some of which are annotated), charts,
Some interesting facts: there are samples from Canadian writers
What I don't like about this resource: attempts too much in one
book. For journalists and researchers, there may be whole sections
here of little interest.
What I do like about this resource: grammar is covered in the context
of the chapter's topic, although there is also a separate section
for usage. The book also has material on how to do research.
Quality-to-Price Ratio: 85.
Getting the Whole Story
Reporting and writing the news
Cheryl Gibbs and Tom Warhover
2002, 451 pp, ISBN 1-57230-795-1 paper covers
Gibbs and Warhover are American academics. This book is an introductory
text for the American newspaper stream in colleges. It covers the
five Ws plus How, beats, a bibliography for further reading, and
exercises for the classroom or assignments. It looks into gathering
information, conducting interviews, framing stories, writing organized
articles, working with editors (in a positive vein: no horror or
confrontation or personnel stories), photographers, public service
(=Yankee) journalism. All examples are US, with AP style, US libel
laws, etc. There is the obligatory section on grammar, spelling,
tips and advice.
Some interesting facts: why this book? From the opening, "Our
goal was to create a textbook that puts the "whys" of
journalism together with the "hows"". I have the
easy answer, since students are not stupid: DISCIPLINE.
What I don't like about this resource: I checked the index, and
there were NO entries for Internet, email, web, Usenet, discussion
group, forum. There was one page reference to "online editor".
Research has a few entries
What I do like about this resource: "further reading"
is broken into categories "in print" and "on the
hello? hello? why is this here if the book doesn't
talk about the Internet?
Quality-to-Price Ratio: 51 for us in Canada, 79 for Americans,
82 for newspaper streamers.
Guerrilla P.R. Wired
Waging a successful publicity campaign online, offline, and everywhere
2002, 281pp, $25.95, ISBN 0-07-138232-1 paper covers
Levine heads a monster PR firm in Hollywood (Levine Communications
Office). In 1993, he published Guerilla PR for the pre-Internet
world. This revision, with a new title, is practical, with street
wisdom, and written in a gung-ho style, directed at small companies
who cannot afford a PR firm and do all their own marketing. It is
almost solely devoted to the Internet, with tips and advice on promoting
oneself, what to put on a home page, how to create one's own marketing
campaign, how to get people to look at one's website and keep them
there, how to use a website to get coverage in publications or TV.
It is all low cost: all one needs is one's own time. And it is all
in the "buzz". Chapters are devoted to email, bulletin
boards, chat rooms, contests, damage control, spin doctors, ezines,
follow-ups, gatekeepers, graphics, information overload, working
with journalists, website planning. The book appears to be extremely
useful for small associations as well.
Some interesting facts: he gives the example of the movie, Blair
Witch Project, which had an Internet site that garnered millions
of hits before the movie was even distributed.
What I don't like about this resource: not really "guerilla"
as in underground, lefties, alternative press. Just for low-rent
What I do like about this resource: the appendices have lists of
US media outlets, with addresses, phone numbers, websites, but no
personal names. CP manages to get included here.
Quality-to-Price Ratio: 90.
Media and Minorities
Representing diversity in a multicultural Canada
Augie Fleras and Jean Luck Kunz
Thompson Educational Publishing
2001, 198 pp, ISBN 1-55077-123-X paper covers
Fleras is a professor of sociology at the University of Waterloo;
Kunz is a research associate with the Canadian Council on Social
Development. Together, they examine the politics of media minority
relations in a multicultural Canada. They say that the situation
is here and now, will it change? They look at how "constructions"
of race, ethnicity, and aboriginality are interpreted by the mainstream
media, and then published and read. They also look at media coverage
of minority women and men by way such as clichés and stereotypes,
asking the question: "is this conscious manipulation by the
media?" Other chapters look at both media initiatives and diversity
initiatives to improve minority coverage in the media. There are
case studies. Basic conclusion: authors admit to some ambiguous
and contradictory data.
Some interesting facts: it covers both Canada and the US, movies
and advertising as well.
What I don't like about this resource: it doesn't seem to recognize
Ryerson University's School of Journalism and how it has contributed
to studies on diversity. It also doesn't comment much on the diversity
levels in the newsroom itself.
What I do like about his resource: glossary is valuable.
Quality-to-Price Ratio: 82.
Memoirs of a Media Maverick
Between the Lines
2003, 278 pp, ISBN 1-896357-80-6 paper covers
When I read an autobiography, I always check out the index to see
what the author has to say about people or things. Here, Richardson
has a lot to say about Conrad Black, Izzy Aspler, Lord Beaverbrook,
et al. Read it for yourself as you plough through this engaging
memoir of a radical socialist who also was a recognized journalist/writer/filmmaker.
Born in New Zealand, he ended up - by 1959 - as features writer
for the Montreal Star, interviewing luminaries such as Castro
and Leonard Cohen. In 1960, he was posted to London, England. In
the eight years he worked abroad, he received maybe two telegrams.
He was with the Star until 1971, quitting to write books.
He then joined the National Film Board as a researcher and a writer,
later moving into direction and production. His career, beginning
as a newspaperman in New Zealand in 1945, has spanned five decades.
And he is still crusty. The book is loaded with pictures of his
family and his work environments. His bibliography and filmography
(both listed) include materials on Canadian aborigines, Chinese,
the environment, and multinational companies.
Some interesting facts: From 1945 to 1971, he was a staff journalist.
How did he last so long with only a handful of employers (the Winnipeg
Free Press in 1954, then the Montreal Star until 1971)?
What I don't like about this resource: he says that journalists
do tend to take themselves very seriously. Not the ones I know,
but maybe I know the wrong ones.
What I do like about this resource: he goes out of his way to always
say that journalism is not objective.
Quality-to-Price Ratio: 88, an enjoyable read.
The Form of News: A History
Kevin G. Barnhurst and John Nerone
2001, 326pp, ISBN 1-57230-791-9 paper covers
Barnhurst and Nerone are Chicago academics; the former wrote "Seeing
the Newspaper" in 1994. This book under review was originally
to be a study of the layout and typography of the newspaper's front
page. It expanded to become a history of newspaper design in the
USA, the ways of writing, how papers are organized, presentation
values of typography, space and pictures, and the impact of changing
technology such as TV and the Internet. The time frame is 1750 through
Basic topics include advertising displays, the front page, and
tabloids. Examples are from typefaces, reportage, columns, headlines,
and photography. The illustrations are all archival; examples include
the Hartford Courant, the Chicago Daily News, Harper's Weekly,
the New York Times, and the Times of London.
Some interesting facts: The book grew out of previously published
(or presented) papers contributed to academic journals and conferences.
What I don't like about this resource: despite the inclusion of
the Times of London (love that front-page advertising!),
it is US-based, which is unavoidable for us in Canada.
What I do like about this resource: there is an extensive bibliography
for further reading.
Quality-to-Price Ratio: 82.
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