Monday, March 15, 2010

Papafagos, Diane. An Easy Computer Guide for Seniors and Beginners.

RoseDog Books. 2005. c.108p. illus. index. ISBN 978-0-8059-9407-0. $13.00. ISBN 978-0-8059-9407-0. $8.00 (E-book).

In this computer guide, intended for seniors and beginners, now retired Papafagos, with over twenty-four years of experience working with computers at Sweet Home Schools in Amherst, New York, The Research Triangle Institute in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, and Lockheed Martin in Rivera Beach, Florida, introduces readers to computers, word processing, the Internet, and e-mail by means of easy-to-understand instructions and short, graphic dialogue boxes displayed in a step-by-step manner. Using the Microsoft Windows 2000 operating system and Microsoft Word, the author covers the aforementioned subjects in forty-one, brief chapters, averaging 2 pages each. In the first two sections of her publication, which comprise almost three quarters of her book, Papafagos sets forth information on the Windows operating system and word processing. She discusses numerous topics, not limited to computer hardware and maintenance, navigating within Windows, changing settings, the control panel, keyboarding shortcuts, formatting documents, saving, editing, and printing documents, working with multiple programs or documents, and manipulating computer files. In the last twenty or thirty pages, the author then proceeds to cover the Internet, searching the Internet, and Email. Her chapter on email is the longest one in the book at eleven pages, but it is not necessarily the best. It presents information on composing email, sending, receiving, replying to, and forwarding email, using the address book, uploading and downloading attachments, chat rooms, message boards, and newsgroups. While this publication has many features that make it a good guide for beginners, it also has other characteristics that limit its effectiveness and usefulness. Concise, clear, well-written, and adequately- illustrated, it also is slightly disorganized, outdated, and in need of additional content. The author needs to consider revising the order of the chapters so a more intuitive approach is taken. She should consider grouping chapters by sections and moving some chapters such as the one on “Internet Favorites” to appendices. Papafagos needs to adopt standard book publishing conventions, including a table of contents, sections, and numbered chapters. She needs to redo the index and reorganize it so that index terms do not consist of chapter headings beneath which subheadings are found. Index terms should be keywords that are filed alphabetically. The author also needs to update this edition to cover newer operating systems, software programs, and Internet applications. A chapter on Microsoft Excel would be useful. Papafagos may need to modify the book’s title or include more content for seniors. Its current title is slightly misleading since the book has not been customized for older readers. Finally, the author needs to include screenshots that are better labeled, a back-of-the book glossary of computer terms, a select bibliography, and appendices. This reference guide by an experienced computer professional will best serve readers who only possess basic computer skills and are learning computers on older operating systems and by means of older software packages. In need of reorganization, updating, and revision, it is not recommended for libraries. Review Copy. Note: I received a complimentary copy of this book as a member of the Dorrance Publishing Book Review Team. Visit to learn how you can become a member of the Book Review Team. Availability: RoseDog Books