Old enough to have used a typewriter, to know what a Magic Margin was and how to use it, and that’s about all you need to know.
Fast Facts Online – Search Strategies for Finding Business Information
Author: Dan Ness, Jr
Publisher: Dow-Jones Irwin
Publication Date: 1986
Available on Amazon
This book is a guide to using the Internet for research written and published years before Google was a verb, and before most people knew about the Internet. Winner of a Computer Press Association award.
In the early 80’s, I had produced several successful seminars as a volunteer for the ACM – Association for Computing Machinery. I saw how my interest in libraries, knowledge, teaching, and technology could come together into a possible business idea. I could help many people learn about how to access online information. It seemed to me the first adopters would be business types, as they would have the time, money, and incentives.
I mentioned this to a respected friend of mine. He pointed out that I would need to produce seminar materials. So, he went on, I may as well have them published by an established publisher. This would bring the benefits of having the materials produced professionally, being more legitimate, and that might even produce a little income. I was convinced.
I sought out publishers who were established in either in business trade or technology fields. Most of the technology publishers in those days were fairly small or focused on very narrow technical topics. Many of the business trade publishers, though, were eager to jump on the technology bandwagon.
I requested the catalogs of several publishers I had identified after visits to local libraries and bookshops. Then, I wrote a query letter with an outline of the book, and sent it to 2 or 3 publishers that seemed most likely. Within a week, an acquisitions editor at one of them called me on the phone. He caught me a bit off-guard with his one question “How much would you like as an advance?” We quickly settled on a number, a contract arrived, and before I knew it, my elation to turned 180 degrees from joy – because I now had a deadline!
It took me nearly a year to write the book. By the time I was done, I no longer was interested in producing seminars. However, during the time I was writing the book, several magazine editors had gotten wind of the project and hired me to write many articles on the growing field of online research.
Shortly after the book came out, I learned that it had been nominated for an award by the Computer Press Association. I was surprised and honored, as I knew this was a singular group of the best technology writers of the time. We only learned about the nomination a week before the New York event, and it’s one business lunch I wish I had attended.
The book went on to be on the Dow Jones-Irwin catalog for years, and was most popular with research libraries such as those at Stanford, Harvard, and corporate libraries such as Apple.