Eyes Wide Shut: Research and the Invisible Web

Lonely Island
Of course, teaching our students about how the Internet works is important. If they DON’T link, like, tag and share, their creations will end up being lonely islands, isolated in a sea of half-started blogs and untended tumblrs. If they DO link, like, tag and share, people will see what they do! Somedays I wonder which one is better…

To me, however, the most important part of teaching students how hyperlinks works is making sure you show them what they can’t get to through hyperlinks: The Invisible (or Deep) Web!

Estimates are that anywhere from 75%-90% of the information on the Internet is part of the INVISIBLE WEB, or parts of the Internet that Search Engines can’t reach.  This often includes (but is definitely not limited to) Intranets, Library Catalogs, Forums, Password Protected SItes, Flight Schedules, Archives and Databases! For a basic introduction, watch the Visible vs. Invisible Web Xtranormal by: mmalik.

To maximize the effectiveness of student research, we need to teach them to utilize the parts of the invisible web available to them.  When I talk with LIS students and staff, I start with something as simple as the LIS Research Portal, a password-protected page on our library website with links to and sign-in information for all of the secondary library databases and subscription based resources.

Where to next? I need to work on empowering my students and staff by sharing with them selected Search Engines and websites which will allow them access to the parts of the web that are not indexed.  Check out this ridiculously long list of DeepWeb Search Engines. If you’re looking for a more reasonable way to get started, visit 10 Search Engines to Explore the Invisible Web.

« This is so illegal »

I only intend to teach my students and staff how to use the powers of the DeepWeb for good.  Not to worry though. If any of them grow up to be a drug dealer, assassin or pedophile, there’s a DeepWeb out there for them too.  It’s the wild west out there, y’all!


Year 6 Taking Over

As part of your introduction to the secondary library, Year 6 students will be participating in a research project using the resources and materials available to you through the secondary library.

Over the next 5 weeks, we will build a wiki together, full of resources to support other tweens transitioning from primary school to secondary school, from childhood to adolescence. You will evaluate resources, write recommendations and share information.

Today we’re starting by evaluating some health and wellness resources put together for students your age.

In partners you will explore at least two of these websites and determine if they are useful websites for students your age who want to learn about puberty, teen and tween health,  growing up and transitions.  In a paragraph, respond to this blog post.  Evaluate these resources for Currency, Reliability, Authority, Accuracy and Purpose.

If you have any questions, please see Ms. Katy.

Tech Tuesday: Beyond Google!

Whispering Secrets

Photo by Flickr User: Cameron Maddux under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 license

I’ve got a secret: Google isn’t always the best at finding you what you want!  Of course, if you use all of its tricks, you can Get The Most Out of Google!  But still, there are other search and discovery engines out there that can help you find what the information you need, when you need it.

Try these Search Engines on for size:

  •  DuckDuckGo: Don’t want “someone” tracking your every move?  Don’t want your search results to be impacted by your search history?  Search with DuckDuckGo. 
  • InstaGrok: Visually pleasing, interactive results with alternate and extended search terms right in front of you.  Research a topic, customize your results, share your search results web.  Try it out!
  • Scrius: It’s science! Check out their “About Us” page for more details, but the quickie version is that when you search REM, Google thinks rock music and Scrius thinks sleep.
  • KidsClick!: Search Engine for Year 1 – Year 8

How about these Discovery/Reference sites?

  • Finding Dulcinea: The library of the Internet!  High quality, trustworthy websites selected by REAL HUMANS. 🙂
  • Internet Public Library:  This is the online version of the reference desk at a public library.  In addition to a wealth of resources carefully selected for your use, there are REAL HUMANS working behind the IPL desk.  Just “Ask an IPL Librarian” and a librarian or library student will help guide you to resources for your question.
  • GapMinder: Aiming to support a fact-based worldview, GapMinder takes boring numbers and converts them into animated statistics in colorful graphs.

This only scratches the surface.  What’s your favorite search engine or discovery website to turn to when the Internet giant Google isn’t what you need?

Pathfinder: Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry

ROTHMCCoverYear 7 English students will be reading “Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry” by Mildred D. Taylor, and studying prejudice, segregation and civil rights as they read it.

Want to learn more about life in the United States of America in the 1930s?  Visit the pathfinder below to explore a variety of resources. Each week we will add a new page with a new set of resources related to a topic from the novel.


Extended Essay: Creating and Sharing your Annotated Bibliography

Year 12 students, your Annotated Bibliography is due Tuesday, April 16th.  You may submit it to your supervisor, Mr. Rancic and Ms. Katy either as a Google Doc or through NoodleTools.  If you need help with submitting your annotated bibliography, come to Extended Essay office hours on Mondays from 3-4 pm in the secondary library.

If you want to submit it as a Google Doc, use the slides below to ensure that your sharing settings are set to:

  • Visibility Options: Anyone with the link
  • Access: Can Comment

If you want to submit it through NoodleTools, share your project with the assignment drop box titled “Extended Essay 2013-2014 [Ms. Katy]”.  Don’t yet have an account with NoodleTools? See the secondary library blog post Research with NoodleTools.  Need help navigating NoodleTools? Check out

If you need help with submitting your annotated bibliography, come to Extended Essay office hours on Mondays from 3-4 pm in the secondary library.

Researching with Science in Context

If you need to research a topic related to science in any way, Gale’s Science in Context database is the place for you to start.  You research a specific science topic, and Science in Context brings together magazines, newspapers, podcasts, websites, science experiments, biographies, academic journals, science dictionaries, reference books, and more to give you a contextual view of your topic.  This resource is perfect for questions that require a broad view of a science topic, just like the One World Essays.  It’s also just downright fun to explore.

How do I access it?

  • Sign into the LIS Research Portal using the library password.  See Ms. Katy for the password. 
  • Select Gale Databases and use the password provided on the Research Portal to sign in.
  • Click on Science in Context. DO NOT start searching on the Cross-Searchable products page unless you want to search two databases at once. The results page for cross-searchable products is not as user friendly.
  • Start searching for resources!

How do I navigate it? 

Use the slideshow below to learn the basics of navigating Gale’s Science in Context database.

Extended Essay: Annotated Bibilographies

Research Process

Research Process

Congratulations! In the wilds of Extended Essay, you are in the thick of it. Having moved through the Pre-Search stage (Deciding your Topic, Figuring out what you need to know,  Developing your Research Question) you are now deep into the Research stage.

This means finding, organizing, and evaluating your resources. It also means your Annotated Bibliography is due on April 16th.

What is an annotated bibliography? 

According to the Purdue Online Writing Lab, a “bibliography is a list of sources (books, journals, Web sites, periodicals, etc.) one has used for researching a topic. An annotation is a summary and/or evaluation. Therefore, an annotated bibliography includes a summary and/or evaluation of each of the sources.”

In three to five sentences, the annotations in your bibliography should

  • Summarize: In one to two sentences, detail the main arguments, the topics covered, the overall point of this resource.
  • Assess: In one to two sentences, evaluate the reliability, usefulness, and bias of this source.  Think about the goal of the writers of this resource. Keep the C.R.A.A.P. method in mind when assessing your resource.  
  • Reflect: In one sentence, describe how this resource fits into your research: What is it helpful? How does it shape your argument? How has it impacted your thoughts on your topic?  What questions do you have now? 

Sample Annotated Bibliographies

Creating and Sharing your Annotated Bibliography – Your annotated bibliography needs to be a in a digital format you can share with your supervisor, Mr. Rancic and Ms. Katy. You must use one of the two options below.  If you don’t know how to use these tools, see Ms. Katy during Extended Essay Office Hours on mondays at 3:00 in the secondary library.

  • NoodleTools – This is a student research platform with Integrated tools for note-takingoutliningcitationdocument archiving/annotation, and collaborative research and writing.
  • Google Docs – Create a Document online using Google Drive.  This requires an account with Google.