The Invisible Web


Seems that the web is growing at such a rate that we may never be able to keep track of everything that is “up there”. The diagram above is one I drew up for a presentation a couple of years ago to illustrate (not to scale) how what we discover using a search engine such as Google fails to penetrate the “deep” or “invisible” web. On the other hand, search engines associated with specific collections such as TKI allow us to search to the depths of that particular collection in a vertical slice of the web. My diagram was intended to show that, by creating alliances between various collections of educational resources, and ‘federating‘ the search among them, we might go some way towards being able to search the deep or invisible web – at least within that small sub-category of the web.

My reason for reflecting on this comes from an email I received this morning from Jimmy Atkinson from the Online Education Database.. He’s just written a feature article titled The Ultimate Guide to the Invisible Web . He begins…

In the early days of the Web, computing power and storage space was at such a premium that the few search engines that were around often indexed only a tiny fraction of Web pages and not even full pages at that. But eventually space became relatively cheap and engines started indexing pages in full (full text), as well as more pages. Still, engines miss a lot of pages. Here’s a guide to those “invisible” pages.

The article provides a useful background to the invisible web, followed by 9 reasons why a web page is invisible, then 10 ways to make invisible content visible. There’s also a list of 15 invisible web search tools that I’ll be interested to try out over the next few weeks. Jimmy’s article is succinctly written and well worth the read!

While talking about internet searching, I also received a follow-up email from Jacov this morning advising that he and his team will are soon going to launch Quintura for Kids ??? a visual search portal for kids with a unique design and intuitive way to find sites. Apparently due out before Christmas – so watch this space!

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