Research on the Internet: What You Want is Invisible
The World Wide Web contains a mind-boggling amount of information. What you don’t
know is that the web is like an iceberg floating in the vast sea …… only about 10% of it
can be seen, while the rest is underwater.
The “visible” web is what search engines like
Google and Yahoo access. The crawlers used
by these search engines find what they can and
present it to you …… but what they can’t find is
what you need.
The “invisible” web (or deep web) is the 90% of
the web that search engines can’t “see” and
access. A majority of this invisible content is
found through searchable databases, databases
that have the information that you need!
Graphic taken from: http://www.kwintessential.co.uk/images/iceberg.bmp
Accessing the Invisible Web Through Subject Directories
A directory organizes information into specific subject areas. Another excellent list of
invisible web resources is found at
Librarians’ Internet Index
These directories have one very distinct advantage
…… they have been compiled by librarians and
experts! Skilled, experienced people have already
done the work for you in choosing reliable and
credible web sites.
Virtual Library
This directory is compiled by “Guides” (various
experts and people knowledgeable in the subject
you are searching).
Open Directory Project
Your last resort is a search engine’s directory.
Information is not necessarily credible, so you must
do your own investigation into its veracity.
Yahoo Directory
Information on this page taken from: http://websearch.about.com/od/invisibleweb/a/invisible_web.htm
Evaluating Websites
WHY? Rationale for Evaluating What You Find on the Web
from: http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/TeachingLib/Guides/Internet/Evaluate.html
“The World Wide Web can be a great place to accomplish research on many topics. But putting documents
or pages on the web is easy, cheap or free, unregulated, and unmonitored (at least in the USA).
Therein lays the rationale for evaluating carefully whatever you find on the Web. The burden is on you - the
reader - to establish the validity, authorship, timeliness, and integrity of what you find. Documents can
easily be copied and falsified or copied with omissions and errors -- intentional or accidental. In the general
World Wide Web there are no editors (unlike most print publications) to proofread and "send it back" or
"reject it" until it meets the standards of a publishing house's reputation. Most pages found in general
search engines for the web are self-published or published by businesses small and large with motives to
get you to buy something or believe a point of view. Even within university and library web sites, there can
be many pages that the institution does not try to oversee. The web needs to be free like that!! And you, if
you want to use it for serious research, need to cultivate the habit of healthy scepticism, of questioning
everything you find with critical thinking.”
Five Categories of Evaluation
What to look for on the website
 Author of the page and contact
information for him/her
 Purpose of the site is and why it is
 Author of the information
 Qualifications of the person who
writes the information
 Institution that publishes the site
 Goals and objectives of the
 Amount of bias included in the
information/how strongly the
opinions are expressed
 Date page was produced
 Date page was updated
 Links are up-to-date and work
Is the information on the page outdated?
Are the links current or updated regularly?
How many dead links are there?
 Links tie in with website’s theme
 A presented balance of text and
 Information cited correctly
 Topics covered in-depth
 Few limitations in viewing the
Do the links make sense to the site?
Is there enough information presented, at a
level beyond superficial?
If any information is attributed to another
source, is it cited properly?
Is there a fee to obtain information, or is special
software required?
Is there contact information, with a telephone or
email address?
Is an author attributed to the site and not just a
Can you cross-reference any information with
another credible website? With any print
What credentials are listed for the author? Is
he/she qualified? Can this be verified if
What body publishes the site? Check URL
domain. Is this a reputable source?
What is the intended purpose and audience of
the site?
Is the page largely about advertising? If so, is
the information biased?
Chart taken from: http://www.library.cornell.edu/olinuris/ref/webcrit.html
Google Searching Tips
This is just a short list of search limiters you can use when using Google. Use them!
1) Use quotation marks to search for an exact phrase
 “to be or not to be” will get you the direct quotation from Shakespeare’s play Hamlet
2) Use a field search to find specific information
 intitle: -- information will be found ONLY from documents with these words in the title of
the webpage
 intitle:endangered animals Canada (no space after the colon)
 this will get you information about endangered animals in Canada and in
other countries
allintitle: -- information will be found ONLY from documents that include ALL of theses
words in the title of the webpage
 allintitle:endangered animals Canada (no space after the colon)
 this will get you information about endangered animals in Canada only
inurl: -- information will be found ONLY from the URL specified
 inurl:cbc (no space after colon)
 this will only find information from CBC websites
 use this field search in conjunction with a phrase search
(“vimy ridge” inurl:cbc) or another field search (intitle:vimy ridge inurl:cbc)
site: -- information will be found ONLY from the type of site specified
 site:edu (no space after colon)
 this will only find information from American educational sites
 use this field search in conjunction with a phrase search
(“medical marijuana” site:edu) or another field search
(intitle:medical marijuana site:edu)
 you can also use this field to eliminate specific sites by using –site:
(intitle:medical marijuana –site:com will get you any site EXCEPT .com
3) Search within a specific website if the site contains many pages and links
 “ultraviolet waves” site:http://physics.org
 this will get you information on ultraviolet waves ONLY from the
physics.org site
4) Search for synonyms using the tilde (~) in front of the search term
 drugs~teenagers
 this will find you information about drugs and any synonym for teenagers
(youth, adolescents, teens, young adults)
5) Search for related websites
 related:http://physics.org (no space after the colon)
 this will find you websites that are similar to physics.org
6) Search for definitions
 define:cloning (no space after colon)