Magazine article American Libraries

Google Going beyond Again: Strategies for Using and Teaching the Invisible Web

Magazine article American Libraries

Google Going beyond Again: Strategies for Using and Teaching the Invisible Web

Article excerpt

It seems unlikely that people will give up their reliance on general-purpose search engines or their practice of beginning a search using Google or one of its competitors. But people should be encouraged to use other research tools when needed, such as databases and more specialized search engines--otherwise known as the Invisible Web.

What makes each of the suggested research tools "invisible" is their ability to uncover resources that general--purpose search engines cannot. Some of the tools do require a subscription or fee. (What follows is just a sample of the tools featured in Going Beyond Google Again. published by Neal-Schuman.)

1. Basic Research Tools

The exploration of basic tools can begin with databases, which are at the heart of the Invisible Web. Proprietary databases and those that provide answers dynamically are Invisible Web resources. Databases offer vetted resources that must conform to an editorial standard, and their content is not included in general-purpose search engines. Users do have to work through the database's own search functions, which may not be as simply laid out as the Google search box.

Student Research

Voice of the Shuttle (VoS): Website for Humanities Search vos.ucsb.edu

Sponsored by the English Department of the University of California at Santa Barbara. Voice of the Shuttle (VoS) was started by Professor Alan Liu in1994. It is a dynamic database of online resources on literature, the humanities, and cultural studies. VoS includes both primary and secondary resources and offers links to course materials, author websites, literature in English and other languages, and ebooks.

BizNar: Deep Web Business Search biznar.com

BizNar scans all kinds of resources, including periodicals such as AdvertisingAge, government resources such as USA .gov and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, news sources Businessweek and the Wall Sweat Journal, and social networks like LinkedIn and Wordpress. BizNar represents an example of federated search, which is an approach to accessing materials related to a broad subject, in this case business, by targeting a range of specially selected databases and search engines.

Data.gov: Empowering People, an Official Website of the United States Government data.gov

The US federal government, which collects all kinds of data, is a good source for student reports or business or general information purposes. They are often invisible because they are buried deep in massive websites and because the government is the unique source for important research and information. Statistical data can be found across many government department websites, but it may be hard to track down with a search.

Internet Archive archive.org

Home of the Wayback Machine, the Internet Archive is a large repository dedicated to preserving the digital world and offeringaccessto its past through a publicly accessible library. While not fully comprehensive, the collections do a great job of preserving much of the early web for posterity. These resources do not appear on Google search results lists; users must navigate the Internet Archive's own search function. Users can search by subject, by the URL of the site that has disappeared from the web, and by media type.

Everyday Life Aids

Pipl: People Search pipl.com

Pipl, sponsored by the search engine company of the same name, identifies itself as the most comprehensive people search on the web. It claims its success is due to the fact that it taps Invisible Web resources, where a lot of people information is kept; however, it does not list the sources that it relies on.

MedNar: Deep Web Medical Search mednar.com

MedNar's free search engine utilizes federated search for medical resources. The advanced search option lists specific sites, including government sites. medical societies, and some commercial databases. …

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