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JOUR202 - News Editing

Guide to characteristics of the Internet and evaluating Websites to support students in Journalism 202 - Editing for the Mass Media

Parts of the Online Environment

There are two components to the online world:

  • World Wide Web - search tool accessible
  • Invisible Web - undetected by search tools

Understanding WHERE to look will help you "think before you click"

The World Wide Web

Defined* A collection of globally distributed text and multimedia documents and files and other network services linked in such a way as to create an immense electronic library from which information can be retrieved quickly by intuitive searches.  
  • No authority
  • Very little control
  • Constantly changing
  • Infinite number of choices via links
  • Includes text and graphics
  • Pictures
  • FAQ's (Frequently Asked Questions)
  • Videos
  • Government information
  • Searchable files
  • Online courses
  • Reference materials
  • Personal pages
  • Discussion lists

* Source: The Columbia Encyclopedia via CREDO Reference.

The Invisible Web

Defined* "Comprises all the information sources available on the World Wide Web that are overlooked by conventional search engines, including Google. It is the fastest growing category of new information sources on the Web."
  • Consists of databases composed of:
    • Full-text articles from magazines, scholarly journals, or newspapers
  • Original data/statistics
  • Reference materials
  • Digital collections
  • Contracts determine availability of commercial databases
  • In-house databases are made available in response to organizational services/needs

* Source: Devine, J., & Egger-Sider, F. (2004). Beyond Google: The Invisible Web in the Academic Library. Journal Of Academic Librarianship, 30(4), 265.

Which do you use?

To answer your information need:

Use the Invisible Web to: Use the World Wide Web to:
  • Read a book published in the 20th century
  • Locate a magazine
  • Summarize a newspaper article
  • Review literary criticism
  • Select a peer-reviewed journal
  • Find an image
  • View a FAQ
  • Read an ancient book
  • Locate a historical document
  • Visit a specific website
  • Simulate a scientific procedure
  • Participate in an online discussion group
  • Browse websites
  • Find directions
  • Answer questions posed on a specific website

Understanding the Invisible Web

Michael K. Bergman wrote the first white paper to describe the Invisible Web:

"Searching on the Internet today can be compared to dragging a net across the surface of the ocean. While a great deal may be caught in the net, there is still a wealth of information that is deep, and therefore, missed. The reason is simple: Most of the Web's information is buried far down on dynamically generated sites, and standard search engines never find it."

-- Michael K. Bergman, 2000. "The Deep Web: Surfacing Hidden Value" - BrightPlanet.Com

The Invisible Web Illustrated

Sometimes it is easier to understand the relationship between the "open" and "invisible" (or deep) Web by seeing it visually. Here are two different interpretations of the relationship to help you better understand the difference between the two: