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Fair Use & Reporting
A search is an adventure into unknown misty terrain, not a 3-point plan. We search with paintbrush and imagination. We chop, synthesize, sift and discard information in an active process that neither starts nor ends with a search engine. Don't talk to me of surfing and serendipity. I want results. Answers. Even to questions I can't quite articulate. Finding such information demands skill. The Spire Project addresses this skill.

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      What we do here 
This website is very flat. Click any to article listbutterfly to return to the index page, which links to everything.

to article listThe Spire Project researches and innovates new ways to understand the world of information. We convey this to you in four ways:

#1  Our Website webpage
Some of our better early work was in html. We maintain but we also previously released content as free shareware via Simtel, SoftSeek and Winsite but after 25 editions, is now retired. Mirror sites at University of Lyon, Connecticut State U. Curtin U. and others are likely to disappear in time. Our special thanks to all those involved.

#2  A Published Book book
We have just started selling Internet Informed: Guidance for the Dedicated Searcher and it is brilliant. There is nothing like it out there. Nothing except perhaps the two chapters released as an internet document so read that first then buy the book.

#3  Further Internet Documents webpage book webpage
This includes my famous Information Research FAQ - a 100 page book on search technique and technology that was the first internet document on search technique. The html version has pictures. It has been translated to Basque and parts into Spanish. We also publish the Web Research FAQ and a couple others. The first two chapters of Internet Informed are released under a Creative Commons licence and a segment of my AudioCD Beyond Boolean is free to pass around too. These resources have a very wide reach and are not to be missed.

#4  And Through Talks and Seminars webpage
For inspiration, listen to me speak. I deliver free talks through welcoming libraries, I speak at high schools on information warfare and my half or full-day seminars are unforgettable. In the past, my seminars mainly reached the librarian community. With the launch of my book, I am keen to reach beyond. Look here for a schedule and description.

      Topics of Interest 

Searching and Research, of course! David primarily devotes his time to understanding how internet research can and should be undertaken. We do this by creating novel tools to simplify the search process, studying particular topics in great detail, talking with other researchers and pondering how the many pieces fit together.

This is not a catalogue of interesting sites. (Tried that). It is not a directory. (Tried that too.) We develop and preach internet search skills: ways to search more effectively.

Much of this is new. Original.
We address online, offline and in between.
Our interests are wide.
This interest has led to research into a wide range of internet organization issues, from surveys of regional resources, techniques of promoting discussion, the liberation of information from government and association reservoirs, and the application of sociology to publisher motivation. While preparing the book, David also worked heavily on simplifying the underlying messages - making them easier for non-librarians to use. The results are a unique blend of library science, computer technology and sociology. We have added much to the public knowledge base on internet research, as evidenced by the Internet Achive. (Fuller Explanation)

Are we information connoisseurs
or inattentive consumers?
Do we search and explore artistically
or simply guess
then select from the prominent morsels
paraded our way?
Some visitors are momentarily lost by the sheer volume of information found in the Spire Project. Please be at ease. It serves two purposes. Firstly, this information supports our conclusions. We wish you to recognize we know what we are talking about because we often undertake unique primary research that supports a conclusion.

Secondly, the primary research may be very useful as a guide to how information is arranged. We have compacted many of the prominent resources together, adding commentary and guidance. If you are unfamiliar with patent research, start at the top of the Searching Patents article and read down. Be careful though. While these articles may be helpful, the patent article was prepared some time ago and is not kept up-to-date.

      The Development Process 

David Novak undertakes the bulk of the work involved in the Spire Project with periodic assistance from various others. David is a former information broker who became first an internet trainer then a internet developer, an internet research and now a public speaker. David is also one of the few internet experts with roots in serious research AND internet development.

What is the information quality? (Promotional:) This information is the best on the net! Actually, there is very little information of this kind anywhere online though some can be found in books and trade articles. Some articles like National Statistical Bureau and News & News Databases simply don't exist elsewhere. (Legal:) The content of this website is simply a collection of information gathered from many sources with limited editorial checking ... (Serious:) Some articles do attract peer review. Most information comes from internet webpages, a selection of books on research, interviews with specialist researchers, trade articles and personal experience.

 Our understanding of internet research is just emerging.
This is not to say the information is pure and clean of bias. Observations are just observations. Research commentary is speculative though informed. Descriptions of commercial resources tend to the cynical but are linked to supporting websites. Your major concern will be the age of the primary research articles. Many were maintained up to early 2001 but were created in the two years preceeding. If your interest is in understanding the internet - the date becomes less significant and I urge you to read everything.

      The Spire Project 

In July 1997, David launched the Information Research FAQ. In 1998, we launched our website, free shareware, a mirror/host effort, a webring and a second FAQ. 1999 saw two more FAQs, more mirrors and a newsgroup and I think that was this year that I did talkback tv. In 2000, we launched two new websites, trialed a newspaper column, and rewrote the information research FAQ. From 2001, David produced two series of seminars, first beyond boolean and then a year or two later, exceptional internet research. These toured extensively across Australia and New Zealand in places like the Australian National Library. 2003 saw a cover article in the prestigious ONLINE. Various public and school talks occurred in 2004, 2005. 2007 saw the completion of Internet Informed: guidance for the dedicated searcher and more talks.

Currently based in Melbourne Australia, the next step for David and The Spire Project is a tour of library talks, media promotions and surmounting the challenges of being a small publisher. Other projects like a high school and university curriculum, teaching aids and professional seminars vie for time and attention.

I like the wider view. The information revolution is about making you an expert at working with information. It is also about a dramatic fall in costs of getting information and a more open sharing environment. Over the past few years I have worked hard to liberate information; from the dusty shelves of government agencies, from the disorganized corners of the internet, and now I am working to liberate information skills. Wish us luck.

      This Project in Context 

Before you go, consider this project in context. So very much information has moved from previous locations to new digital formats, yet our understanding of electronic information is only slowly emerging from the previous library-focused information world and from a separate computer-based model established by the doyens of internet. New tools and search tool improvements continue to emerge but the way we search has changed little - much to our confusion. Very little blending occurs between these two approaches to searching.

Into this setting , The Spire Project bridges the gap. Notions like context, Q4 quality assessment, format and anticipation demonstrate how. Some of this is evident on this website. Some is evident even in the aging FAQ. This bridge is most evident in the book Internet Informed and in our talks and seminars.

David Novak
The Spire Project - better ways to find information
tel/sms +61 403 055544

to article listThe Spire Project - better ways to find information.
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