Friday, November 29, 2013

Deep Web Research For Politics and Social Sciences

Info Iceberg
Info Iceberg (Photo: Eleni Zazani)
by Akash Goreeba

Many of you may have already heard of the ''Deep Web'' or the so called ''Invisible Web'' and whilst it is quick and easy to log on to popular search engines to research information online, the deep web offers results that popular search engines do not index.

Researching the deep web does not have to be an arduous endeavour and can provide researchers with a host of information that may have otherwise been left undiscovered.

To make the most of the deep web, a few steps must be taken to ensure an effective search that will provide clear and accurate results.

Search term

What 'exactly' are you searching for? Do not settle on one search term, create a list and look at synonyms. Question your search term, a search for ''The Communist Manifesto'' will retrieve a plethora of results.

Ask yourself ''what exactly am I looking for?'', the original publication? (include dates e.g. 1848), a draft? (e.g. Draft of a Communist Confession of Faith). What else relates to your search? (Bourgeois and proletarians, class struggle).

Type of data

What type of data are you looking for?
Data (numerical).
Library materials/Texts.
Research results.


Adding extensions may help to narrow your search by limiting results to specified file types. For example, adding .ppt .pdf or .jpg to your search.

Where to search

There are a number of search engines which allow users to search the deep web depending on the type of information you are searching for. Search Google (or other search engine) for links to websites listed:

1. Infomine:

Infomine was built by a pool of United States universities. It allows users to search for journals and articles by field. Particularly useful, is the social sciences and humanities section which allows users to search for material by subject, author, title and keywords. It also allows users to limit search results to free or fee based material.

2. Infoplease

Infoplease allows users to search through a host of encyclopaedias, almanacs and biographies. It is primarily focused towards the USA.

3. Internet Archive

The internet archive offers a search engine built around a vast internet library. It allows users to search specifically for texts from sources like American libraries, universal libraries or ''Project Gutenberg'' (a digitised collection of over 42,000 free ebooks, including many political works).

Waybackmachine; The internet archive also allows use of the ''WayBackMachine'', an archive of cached pages that are no longer visible on the internet. Providing that users know the full URL of the website they are trying to reach, cached copies of deleted pages may be available.

4. Jurn:

Jurn is a very good search engine that indexes over 4000 free academic journal articles. Jurn is particularly useful for searching for articles in the field of humanities and social sciences.

5. Google Scholar (search for Google scholar)

Google scholar is great for searching through a fairly broad range of academic literature. Academic articles, abstracts and books are all available to search. In general, Google has a vast array of books available online, some are paid, some are free and many have chapters which are free to preview.

Specifying your search

This section relates to research via the deep web as well as popular search engines. A large amount of research is available from academic institutions and websites. To access this information, specifying your sources will retrieve the best results.

.edu and

It makes sense that a number of academic articles and journals can be found on the servers of universities and academic institutions.

By specifying search locations users can retrieve material from specific types of servers. This is easily accomplished by adding an extension to your search and does not require the use of specialist search engines.

To search .edu or websites, use the site command available from most popular search engines. For example, to search .edu websites only, type "site: edu" (without the quotation marks). For sites, simply add the site extension to your search e.g. ''site:".

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