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.
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!