A lot has been said about the deep Web or “invisible Web,” but still there is quite a bit of mystery surrounding this incredible resource. What is the deep Web and how can we access it to gather information or candidates? The deep Web has been around for years, and it is not a new phenomenon as many have thought. Before the terms “deep Web” or “invisible Web” were coined, people referred to them as specialty databases, subject-specific databases, virtual libraries, or other similar terms. The Web is becoming more and more complex in that the information it contains now comes from a variety of source types. The Web is much more than fixed or static web pages that come up in a search engine query and can be accessed directly. In fact, the largest portion of the Web is not fixed or static and cannot be conjured up using a standard search engine. These pages are what as referred to as the “deep web” and are served dynamically and constantly changing. There are two types of content in the deep Web:
- Database Content. Databases that contain information stored in tables created by programs such as Oracle, SQL Server, DB2 and Access. Information stored in databases is only accessible by query. As mentioned before, databases generate a significant portion of the web.
- Non-textual Files. These are referred to as multimedia files, graphical files, software and documents in pdf files.
A company called BrightPlanet has created a white paper and coined the term “deep Web” to describe searchable databases on the Web. BrightPlanet refers to the static Web as the “surface Web,” which is a more correct term since both the “deep Web” and “surface Web” can be accessed if you know how. So what can you find on the deep Web? Any information likely to be stored on databases is usually found in the deep Web. I know some of you recruiters are licking your lips right now, as you should. The deep Web contains large listings of things with a common theme like, lists of doctors or lawyers, patents, laws, phone books, job postings and resumes. Any information that is new and changing dynamically will be found on the deep Web like news, job postings, stock prices etc. Unfortunately, when accessing the deep Web using a directory the topics can be overwhelmingly varied and not useful. As with most power searching, make sure you are very specific in your queries when using the following sources of deep Web content:
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- The Invisible Web. Directory of over 10,000 databases giving you the option to search for the database you need. Claims to be the largest collection of searchable databases on the Web.
- Internets. Large collection of searchable databases.
- Complete Planet. This site has a lot to say about the subject, as well as offers a “LexiBot” software you can download to access deep web content. A huge collection of searchable databases that also contains other types of sites.
- Direct Search. From Gary Price, author of the “List of Lists”, a browsable collection of useful links to over 800 searchable sites on many research topics.
- Search Power. Many searchable databases and some gateway pages. Many city and state guides make up the content.
- Search. Lots of topic-based databases from CNet.
Hopefully this has cleared some of the mystery of the deep Web as well as has given you a starting place to take advantage of what the deep Web has to offer.