What is the Invisible Web?
The invisible web is the portion of the web that is not searched by general search engines. It is sometimes referred to as the hidden or deepweb. As the amount of information published on the web has grown, web site developers have turned to databases as a means of managing the increasing amounts of data. These databases are searchable with site-specific search engines, but are not searched by general search engines (individual or meta-searchers).
Although the invisible web has gained attention recently, it is not a new phenomenon. You have already searched portions of the invisible web when you've searched library catalogs or databases, such as Academic Search Premier. These are sites or pages that are restricted to login, are fee-based or subscription, are protected by firewalls, and are usually not indexed by search engines (e.g., Google or Bing.)
Some examples of Alaska-based invisible web resources are:
- Fairbanks North Star Borough maps & GIS, and the property database. The information in these databases contain public record information that historically would be available to people by visiting the county clerks office. The information is now online, but is not indexed or crawled by common search engines.
- Alaska Trial Court Cases. The information in this database contains public records that historically would be found in the Alaska Court Clerks office. This information is available online, but is not indexed or crawled by common search engines.
- Alaska Food Safety Inspection database. The information in this database contains public records about inspections from Alaskan restaurants and food services. This information is available online, but is not indexed or crawled by common search engines.