Holiday Reading to Hone Your Skills

Holiday Reading to Hone Your Skills

By John Makulowich
Contributing Writer

Given the excessive time your mate is probably spending on the Internet or company intranet, it's probably wise to bite the bullet, buy into the effort and reinforce the information obsession. With the holidays upon us, what better way to feed the frenzy than with books that hone his or her skills?

Five books spanning the Internet/intranet horizon quickly come to mind, all 1997 vintage. First is the newly released "Internet in a Nutshell" (O'Reilly, ISBN 1-56592-323-5; $19.95) by Valerie Quercia.

Second is Ian S. Graham's "HTML Sourcebook, Third Edition" (John Wiley & Sons, Inc., ISBN 0-471-17575-7; $29.95).

Third on my short list is "Novell's Dictionary of Networking" (Novell Press, ISBN 0-7645-4528-0, $24.99) by Kevin Shafer.

Fourth is "Office 97 Answers! Certified Tech Support" (Osborne McGraw-Hill, ISBN 0-07-882403-6, $24.99) by Martin S. Matthews and Carole Boggs Matthews.

And last is "Word 97 Bible" by Brent Heslop and David Angell (IDG Books Worldwide Inc., ISBN 0-7645-3038-0, $34.99).

Before continuing, let's address an obvious question that might arise in a reader's mind. What, you're probably asking yourself, are books about Office 97 and Word 97 doing on a list covering the Internet? Two quick replies are in order. First, since you can now configure your Windows Active Desktop to look and function like a World Wide Web page, Office and Word fit the bill. Second, Office features applications like Word through which you can create HTML as well as place what you produce on a server for all in the Internet world to see. Now on to the books themselves.

With the pace of adoption of the Internet as a productivity tool and learning device, a book like "Internet in a Nutshell" is a necessity. It's probably all the documentation you need since a host of tutorials are available online as well as part of the more popular browsers, that is, Netscape Communicator and Internet Explorer.

A step up is the second tome, "HTML Sourcebook," now in its third edition. Not only is this the best on this subject that I have come across in its writing style, but also it's the most complete. It only lacks reference to the current 4.0 draft, which, after all, is still only a draft. For those who want to take HTML page authoring up a notch, this is a required reference.

No true Internet user can feel comfortable without a handy reference. "Novell's Dictionary of Networking" fits the bill for a small, easy-to-work-with volume. Be forewarned that the sparse definitions presume quite a bit on the part of the user and carry no internal references.

The fourth publication, "Office 97 Answers!" is nothing less than a FAQ in print but is certainly more with its organization and completeness. For the user in a quandary over the different parts of the Office suite, this approach is a sensible alternative for finding the right answer when you need it. It may well serve as a model for managing information on the user side.

The last book, "Word 97 Bible," is an important addition, both for its extensive coverage of the popular word processing application and for its details on how to use the package to create HTML pages for the World Wide Web.

John Makulowich writes, talks and trains on the Internet. You can reach him at john@journalist.com; his home page is http://www.cais.com/makulow/.



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