Invisible Web Content

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The Web is 500x Larger Than You Think!

Searching the internet can be an exercise in frustration, returning “sponsored results”. Most searches are conducted through MSN, Google and other search engines. These search engines log basic (non-database) webpages. When we surf the web, we see a lot of travel and shopping sites.

There is another, large volume of information, that search engines are blocked from cataloging, and it is commonly called, the “Invisible Web”. Due to technical barriers, search engines can not view scripted pages, pages requiring a password or when the webmaster excludes search engines through coding. Many of these pages reside at universities (.edu) and government (.gov) websites. Corporations also have a large number of “invisible” pages.

Accessing the “Invisible Web” can help when looking for information and resources. The OAIster Project, at the University of Michigan, has a large digital collection. Their “resources can range from an old-time advertisement of Electric Refrigerators (from the Library of Congress American Memory project) to poems by Emily Dickinson (from the University of Michigan Digital Library Production Services American Verse project).”

There are gateways that organize information in the Invisible Web. These gateways are both general and information specific websites, and are great places to begin a research project: - U. C. Collection - UCLA Library - Government Resources - CIA Publications    Library of Congress - Corporate Database Collection

You can go to Yahoo and search on a topic in their directory, or describe the type of database you need. At Google, use your subject term plus the word “database”. is a collection of encyclopedias, maps and online libraries. is offered by the University of Kansas. It searches hundreds of specialized search engines and databases. The Librarian’s Index is located at

For more information about the “Invisible Web”, please go to

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Radha Khalsa
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