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Search the Web: A Glossary


database: An collection of content, organized as records, often with full-text content.  Database search tools associated with the database can rapidly find items located within.  

Dark Address: Generally refers to content resides on servers but is no longer accessible by any means.

Dark Web: Sometimes used to refer to that part of the deep web where criminal or illicit activities take place.  

Dynamically Generated: Refers to the information that has been generated in response to a specific request, such as through a form. This information does not remain available upon close.  

Invisible Web: Also referred to as the Hidden Web and the Deep Web, this is the part of the internet that is not indexed or accessed by standard search engines.

Mining: Often used to describe the process by which we Information.

Opaque Web: Refers to information that is viewable but not included in search results (skipped by the engine).  This information is accessible through page navigation.

Private Web: That part of the web that is intentionally excluded from web search engine. Includes intranets and password protected spaces.

Proprietary Web: That part of the web that is available through paid subscription only.  

Search Engine: A computer program built to help users locate information stored in large quantities online.

Search Engine Optimizers (SEOs): Techniques employed to make a site "more visible" to a search engine, ideally reaching the top of a search results list.

Spider: Or web crawler, this is an automated (robot) program that is used by search engines to retrieve information based on search query.   

Static: A static website has fixed information that does not change often.

Surface Web: Or "Visible Web", this is the content that can easily be found through standard search engines such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo.

Other terminology unclear.  Leave a comment!  We'll add the term and it's common meaning to the list.

Types of Search Engines

Computational Knowledge Engine
A specialized search tool that generates output by doing computations from its own internal knowledge base, instead of searching the web and returning links. A best example of this is Wolfram Alpha.

A search tool where selective information is annotated and categorized by human beings, then presented to the researcher as successive lists.  Though they are limited in scope, they can be very useful when maintained by content experts.  Consider and  Internet Public Library.  Our Destiny online catalog is a directory maintained by district library staff.

Federated Search Tools
Uses specialized search tools to gather and aggregate results from several databases.  These are often subject specific. Google Scholar and WorldWideScience are good examples of this type of search tool.

Filtered Search
This type of search utilizes user input preferences (think Google's SAFE SEARCH) along with previous search and view patterns to generate personalized returns.  StopDog is one example of a filtered search that is designed filter out inappropriate material for children. Theoretically, filtered searches allow  you to drill down more quickly to the type of content you are looking for.  However, the process skews results to the researcher's biases, which is something serious researchers must always consider.

Horizontal Search
This is what general-purpose search engines do, drawing results from the surface pages of a broad number of websites.  Think GoogleBingYahoo!Ask, etc.

Meta Search
Search engines that use this schema search for information on the web across multiple search engines, aggreating results for use.  DuckDuckGo is a good exampleo of this.  Also try Carrot2Dogpile and Mamma Metasearch.

Mobile Web Searching
These search tools reside within mobile apps and specialize in harvesting web content specific to the app's purpose.    

Niche Search
Specialty tools exist to search all sorts of specific information by type or format.  Some interesting ones include:  PDF Science Search (searches science PDFS online) and Webopedia (searches techno terminology and computer related information).

Real-time Search
Because most search engines only pull items that have been indexed previously, they aren't very good at offering real-time content.  These tools specialize in pulling the most recent/current information out of the web (similar to RSS and social media feeds).   Examples include: socialmention and waze.

Semantic Search
Search tool that seeks to improve on accuracy by understanding the searcher's intent and the context in which the search terms appear.  Context includes such variables as location from which the search was initiated, word variations, synonyms, etc.  The largest of the general search engines (Google, Bing) include some elements of semenatic search.  Consider Hakia as an excellent example. 

Vertical Search
This term is used to describe searching which delves deeply into a subject. It implies the researcher is using specialized search tools and retrieving materials from both the surface and Invisible Web.  Examples include:  Clusty and The Internet Archive.

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