Data Management

Checking out IT books in a virtual library

If you want to get an advance look at technical works-in-progress, InformIT is the place to go. This Web site offers chapters from a variety of books that are still being written as well as free access to books currently on the market.

How would you like to read technical books without paying for them? How about reading technical books without paying for them before they’re published? If that sounds like a good deal to you, check out InformIT.com—it’s a great source for technical reading online.

This is a good site for self-study projects. Once you join the site (yes, you’ve got to do the give-me-your-name-and-I’ll-give-you-a-cookie thing), you can read books online as well as purchase them. And with the AlphaBooks page, you can even scan chapters of books that are in production.

If you think you remember reading about this program in a Bruce Maples’ article, you’re remembering correctly. These free library and books-in-progress pages started out on the Macmillan Publishing site, but now they’re available on InformIT.com.



Online reading isn’t always the best choice, but there are times when it makes sense, such as:
  • You want to check the book out to decide whether to buy it.
  • The material is tangential to your work, so you don’t want to use your money to buy the book, but knowing something about it might come in handy.
  • The technology is new or changing rapidly, and you’re not sure whether you need it but you still want to start reading about it.

AlphaBooks
As one of its more unique features, InformIT.com offers AlphaBooks, which is a collection of works in progress by a variety of authors. Networking and programming are the two main topics of the AlphaBooks. The page has a disclaimer, warning that the content is presented “as is” and has not been checked for accuracy.

One recently featured book is Microsoft Windows 2000 Security Handbook by Jeff Schmidt and Dave Bixler. The publication date for this book is August 2000.

The page on this book lists the table of contents, of which seven chapters are available for online reading, including “Architecture,” “NTFS 5.0,” and “Introduction to Cryptography.”

This section of InformIT also includes chapters from published books.

Online public library
InformIT.com also has a free library with topics ranging from CAD to programming to hardware. You can click on a topic listing, such as database, which will take you to a list of the books about database applications. Or, you can click on a specific database subject, such as Oracle. This takes you to a page where you can select chapters from several books on this topic.

Other features
InformIT.com also offers:
  • Editors' choice: recommended content from best-selling authors and industry experts
  • Readers' choice: the most popular content selected by users
  • Tucows: software from Tucows' vast online collection of downloads
  • Message boards
  • An online store
  • A job bank
  • Industry news

Another nice feature is MyInformIt, which allows registered users to create a list of up to 25 links to any content on the site.

Reader recommendation
TechRepublic member Erbium1 suggests another site for perusing books online:

“You can search and read thousands of IT books at the ITKnowledge Web site. You can browse the contents for free. To actually read them (they include diagrams, not just text like the dead-tree version) you need to subscribe for about $20/month. A search on Visual Basic recently pulled up about 50-70 books, a Java search resulted in the same number.

“The only thing I don't like is that there’s no option to have search return just titles. Instead it returns all occurrences of the search word in a book. I complained, and they assured me that they are working on this.

“It came in handy in a Visual Basic course: the instructor found our selected text had no table of all the data types in Visual Basic. I searched through Peter Norton's Visual Basic book online and found one during the class. Any CD-ROMs included with book don't seem to be online.”
Hey, everybody loves it if it’s free. What are your favorite freebie sites? Send us a list of your links to cheap resources on the Web and we’ll share them with other TechRepublic members.
How would you like to read technical books without paying for them? How about reading technical books without paying for them before they’re published? If that sounds like a good deal to you, check out InformIT.com—it’s a great source for technical reading online.

This is a good site for self-study projects. Once you join the site (yes, you’ve got to do the give-me-your-name-and-I’ll-give-you-a-cookie thing), you can read books online as well as purchase them. And with the AlphaBooks page, you can even scan chapters of books that are in production.

If you think you remember reading about this program in a Bruce Maples’ article, you’re remembering correctly. These free library and books-in-progress pages started out on the Macmillan Publishing site, but now they’re available on InformIT.com.



Online reading isn’t always the best choice, but there are times when it makes sense, such as:
  • You want to check the book out to decide whether to buy it.
  • The material is tangential to your work, so you don’t want to use your money to buy the book, but knowing something about it might come in handy.
  • The technology is new or changing rapidly, and you’re not sure whether you need it but you still want to start reading about it.

AlphaBooks
As one of its more unique features, InformIT.com offers AlphaBooks, which is a collection of works in progress by a variety of authors. Networking and programming are the two main topics of the AlphaBooks. The page has a disclaimer, warning that the content is presented “as is” and has not been checked for accuracy.

One recently featured book is Microsoft Windows 2000 Security Handbook by Jeff Schmidt and Dave Bixler. The publication date for this book is August 2000.

The page on this book lists the table of contents, of which seven chapters are available for online reading, including “Architecture,” “NTFS 5.0,” and “Introduction to Cryptography.”

This section of InformIT also includes chapters from published books.

Online public library
InformIT.com also has a free library with topics ranging from CAD to programming to hardware. You can click on a topic listing, such as database, which will take you to a list of the books about database applications. Or, you can click on a specific database subject, such as Oracle. This takes you to a page where you can select chapters from several books on this topic.

Other features
InformIT.com also offers:
  • Editors' choice: recommended content from best-selling authors and industry experts
  • Readers' choice: the most popular content selected by users
  • Tucows: software from Tucows' vast online collection of downloads
  • Message boards
  • An online store
  • A job bank
  • Industry news

Another nice feature is MyInformIt, which allows registered users to create a list of up to 25 links to any content on the site.

Reader recommendation
TechRepublic member Erbium1 suggests another site for perusing books online:

“You can search and read thousands of IT books at the ITKnowledge Web site. You can browse the contents for free. To actually read them (they include diagrams, not just text like the dead-tree version) you need to subscribe for about $20/month. A search on Visual Basic recently pulled up about 50-70 books, a Java search resulted in the same number.

“The only thing I don't like is that there’s no option to have search return just titles. Instead it returns all occurrences of the search word in a book. I complained, and they assured me that they are working on this.

“It came in handy in a Visual Basic course: the instructor found our selected text had no table of all the data types in Visual Basic. I searched through Peter Norton's Visual Basic book online and found one during the class. Any CD-ROMs included with book don't seem to be online.”
Hey, everybody loves it if it’s free. What are your favorite freebie sites? Send us a list of your links to cheap resources on the Web and we’ll share them with other TechRepublic members.
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