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What is the difference between the open web and the deep web?

Last Updated: May 22, 2014  |  3094 Views

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The terms “open web” and “free web” both refer to the part of the Internet that can be accessed for free using an Internet search engine like Google. For most of us, the open web has become our go-to place for finding information. Usually this works out just fine, particularly when you’re searching for things like song lyrics or recipes, shopping for clothes or concert tickets, or looking for news, weather, or current information about your favorite celebrities or the specs on Apple’s latest i-gadget. But when you’re doing research for a college course, searching the open web can be frustrating, since so many of the sources that come up in your results list are not appropriate for college-level research.

The “deep web,” which you might also hear referred to as the “invisible web” or the “hidden web,” includes content that search engines can’t find and/or require a subscription to access. Although the open web is a huge and constantly growing repository of material, the majority of online resources are actually deep web resources that you just can’t get to by doing a Google search. There are many different kinds of materials that are considered “deep web” resources, but as a student researcher, the ones that will be most useful to you are those provided to you by your online library. As part of the “deep web,” APUS library resources (like article databases and e-book catalogs) are not available to the world for free. To access them, you’ll have to first log on to the campus, then click to the library's website.

Learn more by visiting the library's tutorials on searching the open web and the deep web. Links are below

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