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Deep Web

The Deep Web Library Guide discusses why the Deep Web exists and what it contains. The Guide also provides tools for searching the Deep Web, along with resources for further information.

Finding Freely Available Databases

A simple way to find databases on your topic is to use a general-purpose search engine, and include the word databases as a keyword:

Example searches:

  • spanish language databases 
  • american history databases

Note that searches of this kind will yield both free as well as subscription-only databases.

Digital Libraries

Subject Directories

Subject directories consist of websites arranged by topic for easy browsing. They are very useful in locating Deep Web Material.  This is because:

  • Human beings, not machines, create subject directories, and select which sites a directory will include. 
  • The creator of a directory may come across websites for possible inclusion in a variety of ways: via a search engine search, via a database search, from a colleague, through a printed publication, etc.  
  • Some of these sites may therefore be part of the Deep Web. 
  • Some of these sites may also be the initial page of a database website, which can lead to Deep Web material.


Vertical Search Engines

A federated search engine submits keyword searches to multiple search engines or databases simultaneously.  One attempt to extract Deep Web content has been to create federated engines which search multiple, subject-related databases.  Such federated search engines are called vertical search engines

When you use a vertical engine:

  • Your keyword search automatically triggers keyword searches in a number of individual databases all at once.
  • Together these databases may yield a great deal of topically related information which otherwise might have remained hidden, scattered across individual databases.

Vertical search engines include:

    St. Louis Community College Libraries

    Florissant Valley Campus Library
    3400 Pershall Rd.
    Ferguson, MO 63135-1408
    Phone: 314-513-4514

    Forest Park Campus Library
    5600 Oakland
    St. Louis, MO 63110-1316
    Phone: 314-644-9210

    Meramec Campus Library
    11333 Big Bend Road
    St. Louis, MO 63122-5720
    Phone: 314-984-7797

    Wildwood Campus Library
    2645 Generations Drive
    Wildwood, MO 63040-1168
    Phone: 636-422-2000