The Invisible Web: Uncovering Information Sources Search Engines Can't See

Author: Chris Sherman, Gary Price
List Price: $29.95
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ISBN: 091096551X
Publisher: Independent Publishers Group (15 September, 2001)
Edition: Paperback
Sales Rank: 16,645
Average Customer Rating: 4.43 out of 5

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Customer Reviews

Rating: 4 out of 5
Excellent instruction for librarians . . .
I retired five years ago after thirty years in a very large public library system, and recently found it necessary to return to the trenches for awhile, in a rather smaller system. In that half-decade, of course, the Internet changed drastically and, even though I'm constantly online and intimately familiar with the major search engines (and many of the minor ones), there was a large number of new reference information sources with which I was not at all familiar. So I went looking for professional tools to remedy my ignorance. This is the first book I've seen in the publisher's "CyberAge" series, and medthodologically, it's quite good. As others have noted, the static nature of print-on-paper means rapidly outdated material, but Sherman and Price show you how to attack the problem, so, even though I came across several (unfortunately) extinct databases, I was able to locate several new ones, too. This is a terrific instructional work for reference librarians, and the accompanying web site is near the top of my bookmarks at work.

Rating: 5 out of 5
Great guide to out of reach resources
"The Invisible Web" is a thorough, thoughtful guide to finding information lying just outside the reach of search engines. It can be divided into two parts.

The first part describes the strengths and weaknesses of search engines as tools for finding information on the World Wide Web and provides a good overview of the technical and business limitations that lead to the weaknesses. At the same time, the authors also provide a high-level explanation of how search engines operate and a comprehensive explanation of what types of resources are left out of search engine indexes. Although this section is a bit repetitive, it also stands as the best explanation I have encountered on the subject of Web resource accessibility (and inaccessibility) through the popular tools that searchers have at their disposal.

The second part provides a list of Invisible Web resources (resources that can not be indexed by search engines), organized by subject, with annotations. I personally did not find this list comprehensive, but it is a good place to start for those who have previously relied solely on search engines and directories for Web searching.

If you want to understand what resources are just beyond the grasp of search engines, and get a hand on them yourself, "The Invisible Web" is a great book to get you started.

Note: some of the URL's sited in the second part of the book are now gone. This is not a criticism of the book, but a reflection of the ever-changing nature of the Web.

Rating: 4 out of 5
Good source, but slowly becoming dated
Its always risky to buy a web guide, when by its own omission, half of the web sites will be dead in two years. My own use of the web addresses in the book, found a few dead, but the author's "invisible web" web site had updated links. As search engines get better the current "invisible webs" becomes more visible, and are probably replaced with a new class of invisible webs. My own recent search was able to find many of the "invisible sites" in this book, so perhaps this book is best at giving you ideas of how to search better, for example if your looking for books search for "Library of Congress". In the context of where this review is, Amazon is a great translucent source for info on books.

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