Friday, July 18, 2008

Deep Web

The deep web and the surface web are best compared as a picture of swimming skills. When learning to swim, we hang out in the baby pool. Then we move to the big people pool, but we stay in the shallow end. When we have proven our swimming schools, we are allowed to swim in the deep end. I like to ask middle schoolers if they are old enough to swim in the deep end. They all assure me that they are! So they are old enough to use the deep web, leaving the shallow end for introductory answers.
The deep web is simply databases. The surface web consists of the search engines with which we are all familiar. These include Yahoo, Google, and AskJeeves. They compare with the difference between horizontal and vertical learning. Horizontal learning is popular in many k20 classrooms today. Vertical learning focuses on narrowly on one topic. Such content is mirrored in a pedagogical shift about which many people are talking recently.  I refer to connectionism, constructivism, and cognitivism. These are better known has the ideas of George Siemens, Seymour Papert,  and Albert Bandura.
To access the deep web resources, simply go to databases. Where? There are databases accessible through your local library, just navigate to their web site. In most cases you will need to have your library card with you and enter your library number in order to view the databases. You will find EBSCO, ERIC, Facts on File, an encyclopedia, and Searchasaurus. At our school I have listed in addition to the local library resources (we have residents from 3 states) Infomine, Academic Info, Digital Librarian, Intute, and the Library of Congress.
I encourage you to dive into the deep end today. I feel sure you are old enough to swim in the deep end now!
Photo courtesy of brandle barker, uploaded on September 21, 2007, covered under a Creative Commons, Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 license, and available at

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