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Computer Books For A Library?

timothy posted more than 12 years ago | from the the-secret-guide-is-a-good-start dept.

Education 509

Basalisk asks: "I've been asked to come up with a list of suggestions for books covering computer subjects that would be appropriate for a public library. Ideally, the books suggested would have a fairly long shelf life and cater to as many different audiences as possible, from the absolute beginner to an experienced geek. What books dealing with computer subjects should a library have on it's shelves?" Considering that library books need to have lasting and generalized value, not just programming fads of the month, what books would you recommend for a desert-island library collection? What books won't you give up on your tech-library?

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509 comments

Design Patterns (5)

servo8 (572) | more than 12 years ago | (#2181775)

Addison-Wesley's "Design Patterns" tends to be language-agnostic and focuses on actual object designs which have survived the test of time. Very useful for anyone involved in OO work.

Fred Brooks (2)

The Man (684) | more than 12 years ago | (#2181776)

While not strictly a computer book, The Mythical Man Month is essential reading for anyone interested in software or engineering in general. No library is complete without it.

You may consider Unix a fad, but (1)

embobo (1520) | more than 12 years ago | (#2181781)

Here are some good general Unix books (I may have the titles somewhat off):

  • The Unix Philosophy
  • Unix Hater's Handbook (it's antithesis)
  • The Design and Implementation of 4.4 BSD.
  • Lions' Commentary on Unix

Here are some more general books:

  • Mythical Man Month
  • The Soul of a New Machine

I would bet some books on Artifical Intelligence would have wide appeal.

Make sure that... (1)

Dasein (6110) | more than 12 years ago | (#2181798)

You get "Understanding Computers and Cognition" by Winograd and Flores.

It would save a tremendous amount of misery, frustration, and taxpayer money if this were required reading.

Small cheap and powerful. Good attributes for books and computers alike.

Re:Kernighan and Ritchies's C Programming Language (2)

mandolin (7248) | more than 12 years ago | (#2181801)

It's a slim, expensive tome, but absolutely indispensable

Seconded. I picked up a copy at my local B&N and had to specifically ask for it. Shocked that a volume as important as this wasn't out on the shelves, it was explained to me that this particular book had a habit of growing legs and running off. I hope the library in question has a good theft-prevention system.

the Stevens Series (1)

rockville (14298) | more than 12 years ago | (#2181824)

The TCP/IP Illustrated series (by W. Richard Stevens) would be a good addition. Volume 1, especially, is a good general introduction, while the later volumes get more technical

"Fool me once, shame on you

Hrm.. (1)

Trelane (16124) | more than 12 years ago | (#2181826)

  • Permanent
    • The C Programming Language, Kernighan & Ritchie
    • Advanced Programming in the Unix Environment, Stevens
    • All 3 volumes of TCP/IP Illustrated, Stevens
    • Both volumes of Unix Network Programming by Stevens
    • Stroustrup's C++ book (I forget what its name is exactly)
    • All of the The Art of Programming series by Knuth (from hearsay; I haven't read any of them)
    • Design and Implementation of the 4.4 BSD Operating System by McKusick, Bostic, Karels, and Quarterman
    • Computer Networks by Tannenbaum
    • Unix System Administration Handbook by Nemeth, Snyder, Seebass, and Hein
    • Applied Cryptography, Schneier
  • More Short-Term Lifetime:
    • Programming Perl, Wall, Christiansen, and Schwartz
    • Linux-Kernel Programmierung (is Addison-Wesley)
    • Perl/Tk, Walsh
Hrm.. I seem to be running out of ideas.
--

O'Reilly's Sendmail book! (1)

Twilight1 (17879) | more than 12 years ago | (#2181829)

If you were stuck on a desert island, this is the best choice. Not only does it cover Sendmail, but it is large enough to be used as a deadly weapon!

Don't forget Dubya!!! (1)

Sir Spank-o-tron (18193) | more than 12 years ago | (#2181831)

W. Richard Stevens that is.
Anything by him (god rest his soul):

TCP/IP Illustrated (vols 1,2,3)
Advanced Programming in the UNIX Environment
Unix Network Programming (vol 1,2,3)

Re:O'Reilly's Sendmail book! (1)

Sir Spank-o-tron (18193) | more than 12 years ago | (#2181832)

Do people really still use sendmail?

Why??
DJB is a dick, but qmail rocks.
If you don't like qmail, you can use postfix.

sendmail must die...

Liskov's and Guttag's Design Book (1)

Fly (18255) | more than 12 years ago | (#2181834)

I highly recommend Program Devleopment in Java: Abstraction, Specification, and Object-Oriented Design [amazon.com] . It used to be written with examples in a language called "CLU," which was a generic teaching language. All of the time-worn concepts still apply even though it's now written with examples in Java. This book is awesome. I am so glad that a friend recommended it to me!

It's also the software engineering book used for undergraduate studies at MIT. If you can get your hands on one of the old copies of the CLU-based book, that's even better.

end of line

Textbooks || Data Mining Helps You! (2)

NitsujTPU (19263) | more than 12 years ago | (#2181836)

It sounds kind of lame, but you should get some topical textbooks, not just ones like Java in a Nutshell (though I would recommend a copy of that), but also some AI, Neural Network, Graphics, and Operating Systems books. These books have a long shelf life and lasting value, so they won't go out of style. Also, perhaps a couple C/C++ programming books. Theory is always a good thing. Then I would get some really beginner sorts of books as well. I think that the best way to start if you're working on a monthly budget sort of deal is to get topical reference books first, and work your way to more fad/language oreinted books that won't have so long a shelf life. Also, try to stick to ANSI standards, as they are the ones that will be the most applicable across platforms. IE, get a book on ANSI C, and maybe hold off on the one on Visual C++. Try to cover a smattering of topics and things that are of general academic interest more in depth rather than getting several books on a single language.

Perhaps you could generate some usage reports using the online catalog, see what the people are checking out, and buy more in that direction. If you bought a sampling of books from many different subjects, and then looked on the catalog to see which ones are out the most, you could tailor your library to what the local interest seems to be.

GEB (1)

rueba (19806) | more than 12 years ago | (#2181839)

Godel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid by Douglas Hofstadter.

I have a copy right in front of me, and I have feeling it will be on my bookshelf 20 years from now.

Tech vs. general interest (1)

gregbaker (22648) | more than 12 years ago | (#2181848)

The problem with this is that any technical book is pretty much going to be useless in a few years. How many of us have wandered through an aisle with a pile of MS Word 4 books at their local library?

To have some staying power, you really have to look at more general interest books. Some of my favourites: The Code Book (Singh), Weaving the Web (Berners-Lee), Being Digital (Negroponte).

The other books on my shelf that I wouldn't be without will need to be replaced eventaully. Possible exceptions: the TeXbook, K&R C, Stroustrop C++.

Core Programming Books (5)

sohp (22984) | more than 12 years ago | (#2181852)

Brooks, Fred, The Mythical Man-Month -- Because it woke the world up to how to build big systems.

Schneier, Bruce Applied Cryptography -- Because libraries should have the books THEY don't want you to read.

DeMarco, Tom, and Timothy Lister, Peopleware: Productive Projects and Teams -- How programmers working in teams actually get things done.

Gamma, Helm, Johnson, & Vlissides, Design Patterns -- Landmark book on developing with objects

Knuth, Donald, The Art of Computer Programming, Knuth -- Landmark classic

Alexander, Christopher A Pattern Language, ChristopherAlexander, et. al., and Timeless Way of Building -- Thinking about programs that people can actually use.

Books (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 12 years ago | (#2181864)

Well there are some classics.
The Knuths the art of computer programing vol 1-3
I would say that some of Niklaus Wirths books are most haves.
The C++ white book was already suggested.
I would include some good programming books on..
VisualBasic I hate it but many love it.
Delphi "Never used it"
MFC and Visual C++...
Java.
Perl
Python
And several good Linux and BSD books.
Some SQL books.
And a collection of Dillbert books.

for programming i recommend (1)

sampson (33383) | more than 12 years ago | (#2181876)

for java:
Core Java series (volumes 1 and 2, as well as the JFC book) by Cay S. Horstmann, Gary Cornell; Paperback

for c++:
Thinking in C++ by Brucke Eckel

MFC:
programming windows with MFC by Jeff Prosise

Crypto (as stated above):
Applied Cryptogrophy - by Bruce Schneier

Other:
Design Patterns, by Gamma etc
Godel Escher Bach, by Douglas R. Hofstadter (had to find place for it somewhere)

Artificial Intelligence - A Modern Approach (2)

fungus (37425) | more than 12 years ago | (#2181881)

Artificial Intelligence - A Modern Approach [berkeley.edu] by Stuart Russell and Peter Norvig is a great book that explains many concepts in AI. It is the book the most used in Universities around the world to teach this subject. It is not language specific, covers most aspects of AI, is okay for beginners, and goes in the details...

I really enjoyed this book and think it is a great buy.

What they need to read first is: (1)

phaktor (39283) | more than 12 years ago | (#2181887)

Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy. (All the books from the Triligy :) ) from the late Dougles Adams

I don't know about you but if you want to talk to the techs this will come in handy. it probably wouldn't hurt to watch some Monty Python either.

A few (2)

anticypher (48312) | more than 12 years ago | (#2181900)

Here are some titles I tend to keep on my shelf. Books that have served me well over the years, and maintained relevance to various aspects of my job

The Dragon Book (Compilers, principles, techniques and tools) by Aho, Sethi and Ullman

The Cricket Book (DNS and BIND) by Albitz and Liu

The Bat Book (Sendmail) Allman and co-conspirators

The BGP Book (Internet Routing Architectures) Sam Halabi

A whole bunch of William Stallings books (Cryptography and Network Security, High Speed Nets and ATM Design, SNMP)

The whole series of Roger L. Freeman's Reference Manual for Telecommunications Engineering.

Telecommunications Engineer's Reference Book, by Mazda

At home, I have the classics, Knuth's Art of Computer Programming volumes I to III, The Mythical Man Month, Godel Escher Bach, and many others I can't remember in this inebriated state.

For a lending library, I'd add the whole of the O'Reilly series, a bunch of Cisco Press, Dilbert and of course User Friendly [computergear.com]

the AC

Jon Bentley's Programming Pearls (2)

nano-second (54714) | more than 12 years ago | (#2181904)

The original edition, and the sequel More Programming Pearls. Also, Introduction to Algorithms by Cormen, Leiserson and Rivest is a good basic algorithm reference.
---

Re:MS Press (1)

sparty (63226) | more than 12 years ago | (#2181909)

Actually, I've got a really good Microsoft Press book that I've been working through recently. It's got a copyright notice for 1986 and 1989 (with the 1989 being a reprint with added materail), a title of Programmers At Work, and an ISBN of 1-55615-211-6. It's a series of interviews with "19 Programmers Who Shaped the Computer Industry"; a lot of the interviews talk about approaches to programming for at least a few questions and also tackle the "is computer programming an art or a science" question. Over all, I've been very happy that I grabbed it.

So I guess there are exceptions to every rule.

a bunch of Debian CDs (1)

taniwha (70410) | more than 12 years ago | (#2181920)

"steal this book" (or rather "copy this software - please put it back when you are done")

OK - I'm joking - but actually it's a great idea - seed your local public library with Linux install kits

for TCP/IP... (2)

lactose99 (71132) | more than 12 years ago | (#2181922)

Get _TCP/IP Illustrated_, volumes I, II, and III, all by W. Richard Stevens. These are, hands down, the most informative books regarding the TCP/IP protocol. I have yet to find any other book that contains even a tenth the information that any one of these have, the closest runner-up being O'Reilly's TCP/IP handbook for UNIX admins. Volume I has become required reading at my job (Network Engineer for a large ISP), and I'm sure anyone who works with TCP/IP networks for a living or hobby would find these books invaluable.

My Top Three Books (2)

Smeg}{ead (71770) | more than 12 years ago | (#2181924)

The three books I have found the most helpful, and recommended to the most people over the last many years would be:

1. Code Complete by Steve McConnell -- A briliant text on all aspects of software creation, language neutral

2. Software Project Survival Guide, also by Steve McConnell -- All you wanted to know about the best processes for executing a software project and getting it shipped with your career in one piece

3. Advanced Programming in the Unix Environment by W. Richard Stevens -- no intro necessary.

Design Patterns (1)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 12 years ago | (#2181941)

Pretty much everyone getting into OOP will want a copy of Design Patterns. Although the canonical examples are in C++, the concepts are very similar and similarly useful across pretty much every OO language.

Get the extremes (2)

sg3000 (87992) | more than 12 years ago | (#2181942)

The most important things to teach students about any subject is diversity. I can't believe how many college grads that I had to interview that thought they were good candidates because they knew all Microsoft stuff. I hired the one who had experience with at least three different environments, and could tell me the pros and cons of each. Give me someone who knows 10 years of A, and someone who knows 5 years of A and 5 years of B, and I'm more likely to hire the latter.

So I would pick at least O'reilly's "Unix in a Nutshell" [amazon.com] so you always have your reference.

And then get "AppleDesign: The Works of the Apple Industrial Design Group" [amazon.com] to remind you that computers should be more than boring boxes and uninspired designs.


Effective C++ (1)

Suicyco (88284) | more than 12 years ago | (#2181944)

Effective C++ is generic enough to last for as long as c++ should be around... Forgot who wrote it but its a great book, IMHO..

Must have Donald Knuth series ... (3)

NoRefill (92509) | more than 12 years ago | (#2181953)

"The Art of Programming Vol. 1-3" by Donald Knuth. The definitive guide to theoretical and practical Computer Science. Check it out [fatbrain.com] .

Numerical Recipes (3)

renard (94190) | more than 12 years ago | (#2181955)

For those who use computers as tools to comprehend the world... there is no alternative.

Numerical Recipes in C: The Art of Scientific Computing [fatbrain.com] , by William H. Press,Brian P. Flannery,Saul A. Teukolsky,William T. Vetterling.

To paraphrase the Planet of the Apes star: Anyone who wants my copy can pry it out of my cold, dead hands.

-Renard

Pragmatic Programmer (2)

MrBlack (104657) | more than 12 years ago | (#2181985)

My votes go to
  • The Pragmatic Programmer
  • The Practice of Programming
  • The C Programming Language
  • Code Complete
  • Rapid Development
  • VBScript Unleased in 24 hours for Dummies, Deluxe Edition
Just Kidding about that last one! As you can probably tell from my list I'm a programmer (so programming books are the type of books I can reccomend) No doubt hardware/networking people will have some awesome books in this area to reccomend. Ditto books on SQL and relational database design.

Learning Perl (1)

mshomphe (106567) | more than 12 years ago | (#2181992)

I'll probably get flamed for this, but I thought Learning Perl [oreilly.com] was the best intro to programming I've ever read. It gets your hands dirty immediately, programming from the very first chapter, and it's very accessible, especially for a non-techie like me.

Writing Solid Code (2)

Mr. Sketch (111112) | more than 12 years ago | (#2182000)

Writing Solid Code: Microsoft's Techniques for Developing Bug-Free C Programs
Steve Maguire
ISBN: 1556155514
Publisher: Microsoft Press

Available [barnesandnoble.com] on bn.com [bn.com]


--BEGIN SIG BLOCK--
I'd rather be trolling for goatse.cx [slashdot.org] .

Hagakure (1)

Aya (115435) | more than 12 years ago | (#2182004)

(the book of the samurai) by Yamamoto Tsunetomo. It might not SEEM geek related, but without it, I wouldn't have been able to put up with my users as long as I have.

ANSI Common Lisp (4)

mr_gerbik (122036) | more than 12 years ago | (#2182008)

"ANSI Common Lisp"
Paul Graham
ISBN: 0-13-370875-6

Not only is just up to date when it comes to the ANSI standard for common Lisp, but it tackles many issues of learning functional programming. Good examples and lessons in recursion, macro writing and much more.

Small Minds, Small Worlds (1)

susano_otter (123650) | more than 12 years ago | (#2182011)

Yes, libraries do serve some useful purpose today, but for how much longer will that be true?

I propose that libraries are obsolete. Soon, they will serve the same function as museums. They will serve as repositories for such physical specimens as have historic or scientific value by virtue of their physicality.

When all the world is online, when all the content can be had in digital form, what then would you have in a library?

my list (1)

garinh (124389) | more than 12 years ago | (#2182013)

Here are some books that I have found useful over the long haul --

Non-Technical:
Peopleware; Tom Demarco, Timothy Lister
The Pragmatic Programmer; Andrew Hunt

Technical:

Programming Windows 95; Charles Petzold
Thinking in C++; Bruce Eckel
Learning Perl; Randal L. Schwartz
Learning Python; Mark Lutz
Perl Cookbook; Tom Christiansen, Nathan Torkington; Larry Wall
Programming in OpenGL; Mason Woo

Fundamentals... (3)

livetoad (128448) | more than 12 years ago | (#2182017)

TAOCP (Knuth) and SICP (Abelson, Sussman). Both are a must. They bear fruit even on several rereads. Fun stuff!

Kernighan and Ritchies's C Programming Language (5)

SClitheroe (132403) | more than 12 years ago | (#2182022)

It's a slim, expensive tome, but absolutely indispensable. It's almost impossible to not come into contact with C, especially if you are an Open Source user. It's also practically a part of the geek heritage, both in the style in which it is written, and in the impact it has had on generations of coders. It is truly one of the underpinnings of a great part of Information Technology history.

Re:books (2)

geekoid (135745) | more than 12 years ago | (#2182025)

I think the Dummies books would be a great selection for libraries. They are direct and to the point, great for a newbie reference. Most people who would look for a computer book at the library probably isn't in a tech field at this time and is looking for a place to get started. Of course the K&R would be good. people would feel more comfortable with the dummies book.

K&R (3)

geekoid (135745) | more than 12 years ago | (#2182027)

get the K&R ansi C book.
I would consider any book that deals with the core part of a language neccesary.
Most O'Rielly books have a desent shelf life. I have a 5 year old html book which is still perfectly valid HTML, although not the latest.
I wonder if you could get publishers to donate a copy of a book as it goes into a final press?
Any book you can get I would imagine wold be good.

Undergrad textbooks: Algorithms, H&P, Dragon, etc (5)

Rimbo (139781) | more than 12 years ago | (#2182036)

I would recommend using the books that have become old standards over the years for teaching undergraduates, the "Bibles" of their respective fields:

Aho, Sethi & Ullman's "Compilers: Principles, Techniques and Tools"

Cormen, Leiserson & Rivest's "Introduction to Algorithms"

Patterson & Hennessy, and Hennessy & Patterson.

Lewis & Papadimitriou, "Elements of the theory of computation."

Gamma, Helm, Johnson & Vissides, "Design Patterns."

And "The Mythical Man Month."

All of the above are about the fundamentals, the theories, and should be part of anyone's library who is serious about computers from a Computer Science perspective, IMHO. Some of them have survived basically unchanged for many, many years, without losing their relevance.

Kernighan and Plaugher (1)

reallocate (142797) | more than 12 years ago | (#2182043)

Kernighan and Plaugher's "Software Tools", either the Ratfor or the Pascal version.Just a stupendous book, especially for understanding the basic concepts behind much of Unix. I managed to implement their code in Turbo Pascal for DOS, Still in print, I think.

Best Choices (1)

poetic justice (143990) | more than 12 years ago | (#2182044)

  1. The C Programming Language by Kernighan and Ritchie
  2. Learning Perl
  3. Learning Python
  4. DNS and Bind
  5. TCP/IP Networking by Craig Hunt
  6. Programming Windows fifth Edition by Charles Petzold
This will give you a foundation upon which a great library could be built. This will get you into Unix or Windows (not meaning to snub Mac Fans, I just don't know any good books). It will also give you 1 programming language to do anything well and 2 programming languages capable of doing anything well in fewer lines of code.

For Development Practices (1)

sphix42 (144155) | more than 12 years ago | (#2182045)

Code Complete
Rapid Development

Both books are written by Steve McConnell and printed by Microsoft Press

Perl (1)

Mr_Person (162211) | more than 12 years ago | (#2182053)

Don't forget the Camel and Llama books! They're probably the two most important books I've read on programming and are very well written and easy to understand. You're pretty safe with almost anything O'Reilly.
--

Easy one! (2)

ErikTheRed (162431) | more than 12 years ago | (#2182054)

Pretty much anything by Donald Knuth or Michael Abrash.

I don't think I'd miss having The Road Ahead, though...

Hackers (1)

magarity (164372) | more than 12 years ago | (#2182056)

"Hackers: The Story of the Computer Revolution" by Steven Levy (technology editor for Newsweek). Covers computers, computer companies, engineers, and programmers from early 1950s through ~1980. The best book (IMHO) on the history of modern computing.

End User Books (2)

wasca (172374) | more than 12 years ago | (#2182063)

The average joe visiting a library needs application specific books rather than programming language manuals. For example... "Excel for Dummies", "Learn MS Word in 21 Days", "How to upgrade your PC!"... that kind of thing. Even though the name is insulting to some I've found the "for Dummies" books pretty useful in getting my dad up and running on his PC.

Based on what my local library has... (3)

IvyMike (178408) | more than 12 years ago | (#2182075)

...you should get lots of books on the Apple II and programming VGA graphics.

THE book (1)

Sir_Real (179104) | more than 12 years ago | (#2182077)

Don Knuth's books on Algorithms. The K&R book. Stay away from the new "flavor of the month" books and focus more on entrenched standards and theories. Database design books (There are many). The Dragon book (Compiler construction).

Just a couple from my bookshelf.

Andrew

SQL for Smarties (1)

splante (187185) | more than 12 years ago | (#2182085)

Joe Celko's _SQL_for_Smarties_ is an excellent advanced SQL book. It deals with the standard, but also talks about specific popular implementations.

It was published in '95, but it's still very relevant. Very few programmers couldn't learn many relevant things from it today.

Good computer books for the library (1)

lowder (194305) | more than 12 years ago | (#2182090)

For the beginners, I agree about the O'Reilly books (Learning Perl, Learning Java, Practical C Programming, etc.) A good intermediate one would be the O'Reilly book "Mastering Algorithms with C". For advanced books, you can't go wrong with the books by Stevens ("Advanced Programming in the Unix Environment", and the series on TCP/IP networking), and the Dragon book on compilers ("Compilers : Principles, Techniques, and Tools" -- Alfred V. Aho, et al.)

All of the above books are really good -- the advanced ones have been around for awhile and have stood the test of time. There is also source code available for the examples in all the above, with the possible exception of the compiler book.

w00t (1)

zoftie (195518) | more than 12 years ago | (#2182092)

1.The practice of programming (by Brian W. Kernighan, Rob Pike)
2.C Programming Language (by Brian W. Kernighan, Dennis M. Ritchie)
3.Perl Camel Book
4.UNIX Network programming (by Richard Stevens)
5.Advanced UNIX programming (Richard Stevens)
6.The C++ Programming Language Special Edition (Bjarne Stroustrup)
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/listmania/l is t-browse/-/2M7CF5B7QBV2A/qid=9
96534042/sr=5-8/ref=lm_b_6/002-5786338-7700829
for good examples. =)

IDG and O'Reilly (2)

mgkimsal2 (200677) | more than 12 years ago | (#2182100)

I would think some IDG "For Dummies" books would be generic and 'long lasting' enough to give good value to a library. Win 95, 98, 2000, Office, etc. Some basic things like that.

For the more technical, some basic O'Reillys (camel and bat come to mind) would be nice. Probably at least one on VB. :)

Web development (2)

DreamingReal (216288) | more than 12 years ago | (#2182116)

Let me recommend a couple of books that relate to web development and user interfaces:
  • Designing Web Usability - Jakob Nielsen
  • Information Architecture for the World Wide Web - Louis Rosenfeld and Peter Morville
  • Web Pages That Suck: Learn Good Design by Looking at Bad Design - Vincent Flanders and Michael Willis
  • Philip and Alex's Guide to Web Publishing - Philip Greenspun
Good usability design and testing are two things that still seems to get shortchanged by companies as being unimportant or extraneous. It is probably the most important thing a company can do with its website or product! All of these books are good but I would recommend Nielsen's most strongly. He has written the... ahem, "book" on usability.


-------

The C++ Programming Language (4)

Mnemia (218659) | more than 12 years ago | (#2182121)

This is one programming book that has stood the test of time... Bjarne Strousrup.

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance (2)

riedquat (226343) | more than 12 years ago | (#2182130)

By Robert M Pirsig. Our computer hardware lecturer made it one of his course texts.

Stick with books that cover standards... (1)

wrinkledshirt (228541) | more than 12 years ago | (#2182132)

There's a lot of crap out there right now, and the best books to get would be ones that actually stick to some sort of standard, like hardcore SQL or C references. It's probably the only way to guarantee that you won't be getting into something that's a fad, because any programming language community that commits to bringing about a standards base isn't in it for the short haul. This rule, of course, excludes yet-to-be-proven-potential-vapourware like C#.

You'll want to buy histories rather than manuals (5)

hillct (230132) | more than 12 years ago | (#2182133)

The first inclination of /. readers will be to suggest manuals, or more generalized reference works such as are published by O'Reilly & Associates. This is an extremely bad idea. These works not only have a short shelf life, but are also of a nature which is not conducive to use in a library, in that people who refer to them will want to do so continually, and at a moments notice, rather than saying 'Gee. I have this problem with the syntax of this Perl function. Let me go to the library and check out the camel book [oreilly.com] ', users will want to own such works durring the time in their lives when they are actively pursuing the subjects those works would relate to.

Instead, you should concentrate on aquiring for the library's collection, books which cover a broader scope of aspects of computer science and the history of computing. This would include such books as 'Alan Turing: The Enigma [slashdot.org] '.

--CTH

suggested books (1)

the_rev_matt (239420) | more than 12 years ago | (#2182144)

My must haves: Programming Python, 2nd Edition (O'Reilly, natch) Java Enterprise CD Bookshelf (as above) Apache, the definitive guide (as above) Linux Network Administrators Guide, 2nd Edition (as above) UNIX CD Bookshelf (as above) C++ the Core Language (as above) Or most any of the O'Reilly books, really, focusing on things that aren't going to change wildly with the next version (VB, for example).

Re:a bunch of Debian CDs (1)

the_rev_matt (239420) | more than 12 years ago | (#2182145)

I already do that ;)

Whenever I order CDs from Cheap Bytes I order extra to give to the lib. And all the Penguin Computing systems we ordered for work came with the Red Hat 6.2 CD set, all of which are now happily living at the local library. I also donate computer books when I get a newer edition (or buy one I already have - don't laugh, I've done it more times than I care to count).

My Top 10 (2)

geekplus (248023) | more than 12 years ago | (#2182149)

10. Visual Basic For Dummies
9. Learn HTML in 21 Days
8. Learn Perl in 4 Days
7. 7 Minute Abs
6. Practical Programming for the PDP-11
5. Advanced Programming with the Windows Task Scheduler
4. xClock for xPerts
3. t0p 100 l33t 5c41pts
2. Customized Quake Maps in 5 Minutes!

and destined to be a timeless classic...

1. Microsoft Terminology for Microsoft Certified Certifiers of Microsoft Certification Seeking Professionals

Applied Cryptography (3)

geekplus (248023) | more than 12 years ago | (#2182150)

by Bruce Schneier (sp?)

This is becoming the end-all, be-all textbook on cryptography (both composing and cracking message) in the wild.

One of its more valuable contributions is the fact that it sets down a common language for various cryptographic terms and practices we all sorta know about, but can't really bring clearly into a conversation. Having the common vocabulary that Bruce brings to security is as powerful as the common language that the Gang of Four book brought to object-oriented design.

Re:101 ways to... (2)

bahtama (252146) | more than 12 years ago | (#2182155)

OK, now that is kinda funny. Considering the question that was put to Slashdot readers was "What books won't you give up on your tech-library?" Besides, is that proper English ya reckon? Not that Slashdot is known for that anyways. Of course neither am I, but I digress.

This story is ripe for some goat type answers. But I think a couple basic books on computers and operating systems are a must. Probably multiple copies as well. Also, the Dummies book are good for non-technical people, they give a dumbed down broad overview.

=-=-=-=-=

Libraries are _resources_ (1)

noz (253073) | more than 12 years ago | (#2182156)

I have two C books, A Book On C (if you have this one, burn it now and never follow the advice of that who recommended it to thou), and Kernighan and Ritchie (contact it to protect against rouge coffee and never, never remove it from your desk).

Libraries are resources. Resources must to be broad in scope and concise in economies. This is why the prior is shudas, and the latter optimus.

Can't go wrong with O'Reilly (3)

baptiste (256004) | more than 12 years ago | (#2182162)

If you're looking for system admin book or language references, you generally can't go wrong with O'Reilly books - Perl, Java, etc and sys amdin books on RedHat, Sendmail, DNS, Essential Sys Admin, etc.

Also, for Visual Basic, the Microsoft Refernece library for VB is quite extensive and well written, combine that with the VB Programmers guide

O'Reilly books (1)

AdamInParadise (257888) | more than 12 years ago | (#2182164)

Just buy all the books of the O'Reilly collection. With the exception of one or two black sheeps, they are all very good.

But O'Reilly lacks on the theory side. I would recommend going to your local university bookstore and have a look around. (Here's a tip: if the bookcover is flashy, the book is already outdated. And here's another: avoid everything from Microsoft Press or written by Microsoft employees. They suck more than you can imagine.)

Re:Applied Cryptography (1)

AdamInParadise (257888) | more than 12 years ago | (#2182165)

Sure, but remember the preface of "Secrets and Lies", his second book:

"The world is full of insecure system because the people who implemented them red Applied Cryptography."

Sexe for Dummies (2)

AdamInParadise (257888) | more than 12 years ago | (#2182166)

I recommends "Sexe for Dummies" and "Food for Dummies". I'm not kidding. Both are really good and I guess that geeks like us could make a good use of them. And they are in a the familiar format we all love!

Re:Kernighan and Ritchies's C Programming Language (1)

jmccann (261760) | more than 12 years ago | (#2182172)

seconded (or thirded). This is in my not observably humble opinion the best book on a computer topic period. Perhaps not the best as a tutorial or for a new programmer, but absolutely indispensible for anyone who has to use C. And everyone ends up using C at some point.

Simple Internet Books (1)

Atreides4 (309781) | more than 12 years ago | (#2182186)

Drawing on the expierience of my local library, the ones I see people taking out most are relatively simple books on the World Wide Web. For instance, HTML how-to guides are very popular and are fairly long-lasting by the standards of programming books. (The ones my library bought were HTML x.x for Dummies Web page design books are also good because the artistic portion of design stays static.

essentials (1)

cowtamer (311087) | more than 12 years ago | (#2182188)

The only worthwhile programming book I own is:

Unix Network Programming (Richard Stevens) [the first edition!]

Probably the most complete and concise UNIX programming reference you can find (network or not).

In addition, every CS student must read:

Neuromancer [amazon.com] (William Gibson)

Snow Crash [amazon.com] (Neal Stephenson)

Hamlet on The Holodeck [amazon.com] (Janet Murray)

The last one (Hamlet) is one of the most insightful books I own, despite the corny title. Snow Crash is full of concepts waiting to be implemented and patented (yuk)...

I had a CS professor who made Neuromancer and Hamlet on the Holodeck required reading for our VR class :)

Boor-ring... (1)

Tantrum420 (312608) | more than 12 years ago | (#2182189)

I mean the reference books are good an all, but how about something that's halfway fun to read? I would recommend something along the lines of Cyberpunk, Neromancer, etc... I'd like to expound a little more, but I gotta run. T

The C++/C Bible (1)

Electrawn (321224) | more than 12 years ago | (#2182197)

My library is filled with reference manuals and some books of algoritms. Basic technique books also might be a good add.

I think a core book should be Jamsa's C/C++ Programmer's Bible By Kris Jamsa and Lars Klander. I also keep a 4.0 reference to QuickBasic...which was beat the hell out of in my earlier years. I wouldn't recommend that for a library though.

You mean you can still get info in paper form? (1)

Telek (410366) | more than 12 years ago | (#2182208)

Quite seriously though, I have *never* bought a computer book in my 12 years with computers. Why would I spend upwards of $100 on a book when I can hit F1 or surf on the internet for 5 minutes to find everything I ever wanted to know about (insert topic here). If you want a library to have a resource for computer information, I'd seriously suggest finding some way to set up an ELECTRIC repository for this information. Have a set of computers set up that easily indexes and gives information on all of the latest topics in computing. I think that would have a much more effective model. Allow people to have this stuff "burned" to a CD or to a disk for a charge. Now wouldn't that be a neat idea? Go to a library, and get a copy of all the information you could possibly want on a topic for $5 on CD. That's a lot easier than carrying around a set of huge clunky books, and you don't have to worry about the shelf life expiring 5 days after the book is bought, especially when these books cost as much money as they do.

C and C++, as well as perl. (1)

bsquizzato (413710) | more than 12 years ago | (#2182213)

I would suggest C and C++, since those are rather dominant languages today that won't be going away in the near future. Perl is also a strong language that is starting to get commonly used for many different things... from simplifying complicated tasks to running IRC daemons.

Programming Pearls (1)

ghoke (449647) | more than 12 years ago | (#2182219)

This collection of Jon Bentley's columns (from Communications of the ACM) holds timeless advice for developers. I'd recommend it as a language-neutral, think-before-you-write book for a wide range of audiences. I continue to use it in teaching HS C++ and Java, year after year.

Online Help (1)

fodi (452415) | more than 12 years ago | (#2182221)

I find I'm able to research most topics online. The documents are free, easy to find (sometimes)and usually as informative as very expensive books. Perhaps trying to build a database of free, online documents might prove useful. With most professional texts costing over $AU100, you might find it a viable option.

Don't forget ... (1)

isj (453011) | more than 12 years ago | (#2182222)

For developers:
"Modern Operating Systems" by Andrew Tanenbaum.
"Prototyping" by Roland Vonk.

For end-users the choice is more difficult because they will probably need some less abstract, resulting in books on contemporary applications and technologies. But I recall a book called "What computers can't do" which should be general.

Mythical Man Month -2nd Ed. (2)

jeffphil (461483) | more than 12 years ago | (#2182236)

Mythical Man Month has been posted, but for some of the oldtimers out there who read this many years ago - there is a 2nd Ed. [1995] that came out for the 20 year anniversary. Reading it again.

Two Books to Explain How Computers Really Work (1)

eyesyte (461984) | more than 12 years ago | (#2182239)

Computer Science, an Overview by J. Glenn Brookshear
(Addison- Wesley, 6th ed., 2000) (How many of you had this for a text book?)

Code, The Hidden Language of Computer Hardware and Software by Charles Petzold, 2000.
(Yes, its published by Microshit - so get it at your public library)

Don't Forget Richard Stevens (1)

SpyderMD (472077) | more than 12 years ago | (#2182256)

The three Unix programming books by Richard Stevens are all excellent: 1. Unix Network Programming, Volume 1 2. Unix Network Programming, Volume 2 3. Advanced Programming in the Unix Environment I hear the TCP/IP series is really good too.
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