May 10, 2005

Invisible Web - Where to find 90% of what is out there.

The Invisible Web is easily accessible..that is, if you know where to look. Fortunately there are many sites that are set up to be "gateways" to the many databases and otherwise closed-off content that makes up the Invisible Web.

Deep Web Gateways

  • The University of Michigan has put together OAIster, (pronounced "oyster") and encourages you to "find the pearls" on the Invisible Web. They have millions of records from more than 405 institutions as diverse as African Journals Online and the Library Network of Western Switzerland.
  • LookSmart's Find lets you search print publications for articles; anything from popular magazines to scholarly journals. Be sure to check out their Furl tool to organize your search snippets.
  • The Library Spot is a collection of databases, online libraries, references, and other good info. Be sure to check out their "You Asked For It" section, where popular readers' questions are featured.
  • The US Government's official web portal is, an extremely deep (as in lots of content) site. You could spend hours here. It's interesting to note how much stuff you can get done online here as well, such as renew your driver's license, shop government auctions, and contact elected officials.
  • Search the vast holding of the UCLA Library online, including their special collections.
  • Check out and its' searchable databases. Results come from encyclopedias, almanacs, dictionaries, and other online resources.
  • The Central Intelligence Agency has the World Factbook, a searchable directory of flags of the world, reference maps, country profiles, and much, much more. Great for geography buffs or anyone who wants to learn more about their world.
  • University of Idaho has created this Repository of Primary Sources, which contains links to manuscripts, archives, rare books, and much more. Covers not only the United states, but countries all over the world.
  • Lund University Libraries maintains the Directory of Open Access Journals, a collection of searchable scientific and scholarly journals.
  • Looking for scientific information? Go to first. You can search either scholarly sources or Web sources or both.
  • Canada, ay? Then check out the Archival Records of Alberta. This is a gateway to photographs, census records, and other archival records.
  • Want to find a plant that will survive overwatering, lack of sunlight, and general forgetfulness? You can probably find something in the USDA's Plants Database.
  • The Human Genome Database contains anything you would ever want to know..well, about the human genome, at least.
  • If you've got a medical question, check out The Combined Health Information Database, or CHID online. Its' searchable subject directory is very user-friendly, and you can find information on pretty much anything to do with human health here.
  • Nonprofit organizations need searching tools too. The National Database of Nonprofit Organizations is an extensive site provides locations and contact information for nonprofits.