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The Invisible Web: Web Resources You Didn’t Know About

April 19, 2013

By Lsmpascal [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

By Lsmpascal [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Did you know that search engines such as Google and Yahoo! don’t deliver all that the Web has to offer? In fact, most of the Web is hidden from plain view. You don’t see it because general search tools are unable to index it. It is called the “Invisible Web” or “Deep Web” and contains a treasure trove of info you might find useful, including:

  • the content of databases
  • websites that are deep and rich in content
  • forms to be completed (e.g. sites offering job descriptions, travel directions, etc.)
  • non-text files (e.g. multimedia, images, software, documents)
  • content requiring password access or other restrictions
  • full text articles and books
  • content with continuous updates (e.g. news and airline flights)

There are a ton of search tools to help you access these resources – below are just a few samples. You are encouraged to seek ones that cater to your interests. For example, specialized databases can be found by searching a general search engine using a subject term and the word “database” (e.g. economics database). Check out the links at the bottom of the page for more search tips and background information on the Invisible Web.

Sample Tools for Searching the Invisible Web: 

Librarians’ Internet Index
Directory of Open Access Journals

CompletePlanet: The Deep Web Directory
Scirus for Scientific Information Only 

Learn more…

What Is the ‘Invisible Web’? : The Content That Goes Beyond Google, Yahoo, Bing, and…
(by Paul Gil, Guide)

The Deep Web
(by Laura Cohen, webmaster of the Internet Tutorials: your basic guide to the Internet)

From RRC Library:

Going beyond Google : the Invisible Web in learning and teaching
(by Jane Devine and Francine Egger-Sider)

Internet research
(by Melissa Barker, Donald I. Barker, Katherine Pinard)