Dark Web Search: Beating a Small, Nearly Dead Horse

October 28, 2019

Despite popular opinion, search engines do not yield all the information on the Internet. Albrecht Ude recycles tips in Global Investigative Journalism Network’s article, “How To Become A Deep Web Super Sleuth” that only 4% of Internet content is shown in search results. The key to discovering information hidden on the Internet is not search for specific details, instead search for where that information should be. For example, if you are searching for someone’s email address, but cannot find it search instead for organizations related to the person. Digging through content and searching for clues is how to find the gold (aka the desired information).

The article also offers some advice how to become a super deep web sleuth. These tips are helpful for any type of information search, not only those linked to specific organizations or their databases usually not listed in search results.

Figure out who runs the database or organization, these will usually be individuals who would invest funds or stand to make a profit from the information. Interestingly enough databases can also be “hacked:”

‘Find databases by searching for your topic with “database OR directory OR catalogue OR registry” on a search engine. If you want some privacy, Dutch company www.startpage.com runs searches for you on Google, without giving the tech giant your information.”

As millions of students know, while you cannot use Wikipedia as a research tool, you can use the information they cite in their articles. Check out the external links in the bottom of articles as well as search for lists of academic or online databases. Do not forget to search Wikipedia in other languages for more diverse results.

Take advantage of what is available at your public or university library. Public and university libraries pay subscriptions for databases. They can be accessed on site or via a library card, generally these are free to local residents. The Wayback Machine and Archive.today are also great sources for Web site history, because sites disappear as quickly as they are made, but these archives store them.

Relying solely on search engines for research is a lazy move. Lazy.

Whitney Grace, October 28, 2019


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