Advanced Online Research

The internet consists of approximately 4-5 billion websites. This guide is intended to help you navigate the visible internet in order to get the best of what it has to offer your research.

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Online Research

A good way of imagining information online is by picturing it to be a planet just like Earth. Like Earth, Information Planet offers a great deal of variety in terms of what types of information are available and as well as different types of information ecosystems. 

Beneath the surface, the geology of Information Planet is much like Earth as well. It consists of an outer crust, a mantle, and the core.  

The Outer Crust of Information Planet is what we would call the Visible Internet. It is made up of publicly available information that is meant for sharing and consumption. When we conduct a search of the internet with a search engine, our results will be found in the Visible Internet. 

The Visible Internet is estimated to be 4-5 billion websites. These include everything from news, social media, online tools, pictures, music, and YouTube videos of cats. So many cats. 

Beneath the Outer Crust, is the Mantle, or on Information Planet, the Deep Web.

The Deep Web (not to be confused with the Dark Web) consists of all of the information that is present online that cannot be accessed publicly. As such, these sites cannot be indexed by search engines. Special permissions are required to access these parts of the internet. 

The Deep Web is estimated to be between 500 and 5000 times larger than the visible internet. 

Scholarly journals and databases that are accessed through the Sheridan Libraries are part of the Deep Web. You should spend much of your research time here. 

Like Earth, Information Planet has a core that is inhospitable to human life, the Dark Web. 

Abandon hope, all ye who enter here. 

The purpose of this guide is to help you to know when to search the Visible Internet, and how to mine the best results from it.