Saturday, May 19, 2007

Seven Steps to Searching The Invisible Web

Even with Web 2.0, searching for information is not an easy task. There's still an amazing mass of hidden content in the Invisible Web. Although an older article published back in 2001, librarians Gary Price and Chris Sherman's Exploring the Invisible Web: Seven Essential Strategies is nonetheless an excellent read for those of us interested in becoming better searchers. Information-seeking is a never-ending life-long learning curve.

Strategy #1: Adopt the Mindset of a Hunter -
Searchers are passive users of information-seeking tools while hunters are use tools, but also take advantage of their environment, the weather, knowledge of their quarry to act opportunistically whenever possible, using all manner of tactics when stalking their elusive prey. Thus, when attacking the Invisible Web, an active mind is needed to turn over every stone, ceaselessly looking for new "possibilities" of every website encountered keeping in mind that one can never find "everything."

Strategy #2: Use Search Engines -
Even though a great deal of content of the Invisible Web is hidden in databases unreachable by search engines, some of this content have Web interfaces still have simple HTML pages that are visible to search engines.

Strategy #3: Datamine Your Bookmark Collection -
Invisible Web content sometimes are already on webpages, but hidden in the databases within the site. Look through the sitemap and really "dig" into what the site has to offer.

Strategy #4: Use the Net's "Baker Street Irregulars" -
Even Sherlock Holmes relied on an extensive intelligence network, a motley crew of street urchins called the Baker Street Irregulars, to provide him with the most updated information of London. The Web has its own group of characters that are experts on searching and take pride in sharing their knowledge with others. Take advantage of such resources, which often includes discussion lists (and now blogs).

Strategy #5: Use Invisible Web Pathfinders -
Such pathfinders are like directories that lists links to Invisible Web resources.

Strategy #6: Use Offline Finding Aids -
Books, magazines, and journals offer valuable content about the Invisible Web. However, instead of relying on such printed material for website reviews, the trick is to find the "unreviewed" material by personally exploring the webpages for hidden databases and Invisible Web resources.

Strategy #7: Create Your Own "Monitoring Service" -
This requires a two-step procedure. First, identify the Invisible Web resources you find most relevant and monitor the "What's New" or press releases pages. The second is to subscribe to "What's New" lists such as the Librarian's Internet Index New This Week for weekly emails about useful internet resources. Of course, Web 2.0 has made this possible for everyone with RSS feeds!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good post. Gary Price - the author of the invisible web - just got married recently (he may still be on his honeymoon). He, as you may or may not know, works for Ask.Com. I am in regular e-mail contact with him.

He's also still at - Dean