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!


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?

Search Terms & Keywords – Lesson & Student Work

Mr. Beckett’s Year 10 English class participated in a lesson on developing Powerful Search Terms & Keywords.  You can use the resources from the lesson or explore their brainstorm sheets below.

Search Better with Keywords and Search Terms

  • How Search Works – Google Video about how searching the web actually works
  • Developing Keywords Tutorial – Short video from Johnson and Wales University on selecting appropriate keywords
  • Search Term Map – Use this outline to brainstorm keywords and search terms, including synonyms, related topics, broader terms, narrower terms, related words or people