Searching the internet can be tougher than you might think sometimes, especially if the only tools you have at hand are Google and Bing.
You will find yourself coming up with the same search results over and over. Depending on your topic, these two just may not do it.
Do you know where to look when your search is about a specific person? Where would you search to find information about legal matters or a specific law? Is the answer to your question buried in a hidden blog post in some obscure blog? Researching information this way requires a certain amount of tenacity, as well as a certain set of tools.
The tenacity you will have to find on your own but I can help you with the tools. This is by no means a complete list of internet archives, but the following roundup of research resources will have you well on your way to finding that gem of information you’re looking for.
Let’s start with people searches. Are you looking for a certain someone? Maybe an old college roommate, or perhaps someone owes you an unpaid debt.
Doing a little detective work on your daughter’s new boyfriend? If any of these fit what you’re trying to accomplish, I would start with:
Pipl.com. According to their website, Pipl has acess to a database of over three billion people. Using a deep data mining algorithm, Pipl digs up search results that you will not get on regular search engines.
Although you can get a lot from this site for free, they do seem to be leaning towards a paid model. But you can gain very good intelligence on folks regarding age, location and even some career information as well.
2. Way Back Machine
Sometimes to get what we are searching for, we have to take an indirect approach. Instead of looking for the person we can, for example, search for a website that they may have created or some other documentation about them that we know was on the web at some point.
This archive (as of writing) has 284 billion web pages and blogs stored. The Way Back Machine even has a service that will store your searches for you in case you are doing a project or you do frequent searches of this type.
3. Family Search
If you have partial information about a person that maybe you’ve collected from other resources, you can try entering this at Family Search. This site is a collection of historical, genealogical records—supposedly the largest in the world.
When you use this site, enter as much information as you have available to you. This site is mainly for tracing family histories but it can also be a very useful people tracker, as it can turn up records of birth, death, marriage and more.
Family Search also offers Record conservation and preservation services for free.
4. Melissa Data Free Look Up
In the case you want to cast a wider search net, Melissa Data Free Look Up is a very useful site. Here you can find census data as well as local school information, address information based on zip codes.
Neighborhood demographics by zip code, income tax data, and a whole lot more. This site is one of those “really can’t do withouts” in this list, so I’d suggest that you definitely bookmark this one.
5. My Life
This site mines the depths of public record, social media and a few other choice databases to bring you quite a bit of worthwhile results for people finding needs like work and school records, arrest records, political affiliations, marital status, phone and address history, and even affiliations with other people.
You can register for this service and get a fair amount of information for free but for $6.95 US Dollars, you can use the service for a month and get full reports and all kinds of juicy information.
If your research does not involve searching for individual people or groups, there are search engines designed to fulfill tasks such as looking for articles and news topics. I’ll share a few of them with you here that focus on article, blog and news-based research.
Here you will find a search engine that does extremely well mining data from the deep web. You will get search results far better visually organized than you get from standard Google searches.
To quote the Surfwax about page, “Wax helps a surfer grip his board, Surfwax helps you get a grip on information.”
Try this one if you don’t want your search results to be filled with adult content, gambling websites and porn. Yippy is the perfect Google style search engine that is safe for use by younger researchers.
In addition to blocking unwanted content from the search, Yippy also protects your privacy. But there are some geographical limitations to that. According to the site’s policy: It will not collect personally identifiable information about you like your name, telephone number, physical address or email address.
That is, as long as you’re in the United States. “Yippy will not track a U.S. citizen for any reason” unless required by court order, subpoena or required by law. Not a bad deal for little U.S. web surfers.
8. Library of Congress
If you’re seeking historical information about any period of time that has affected our lives and society, the Library of Congress is your place to start.
From the law library to the digital collections, or the celebrity-specific collections this site is like a one-stop shop.
A great place to begin research for term papers, white papers and articles, you can find almost anything here. If you’ve never visited this site before, its worthwhile to just check it out for fun, you’ll be amazed at what you find.
Fazzle is a meta search engine that combines the search results of several other engines into one search result that you can sift through. According to the the site, it claims to have access to more search information than Google.
That’s quite a claim and definitely a lot of search information. You can narrow down your searches to specific engines like dining, travel, wikis, Wolfram Alpha search project, and even Project Gutenberg’s engine.
10. Google Scholar
My last entry is by no means the least. If searching journals and articles is what you’re after, then this is a great place to check out.
Google Scholar allows you to even search case law. It is truly a scholar’s search engine and tool.
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This is by no means a complete list of deep web search tools, but it’s a great start for anyone who has been stuck using just plain old Google.
In using all of the tools presented here, you have to remember to think outside the of the box. Don’t just search words, search databases.
Looking for cats? Try typing “cat database” into the search bar and see what you get. There are even government databases that may contain the information that you are seeking.
Once you find a good database, don’t forget to bookmark it for later use. I personally have lost some of my best info sources by not doing this one thing. It’s a very simple but powerful tip. Create folders to save your various searches in as well so that they are organized and easy to find.
This is a deep web search technique, remember that 99 percent of the information on the internet will NOT show up on the typical search engines, so be creative. Find blogs and internet search guides to help you keep abreast of the latest information on internet research itself.
Lastly don’t give up. The information that you seek is out there. The world wide web is like the mind of humanity. We live in an age where we have so much information just sitting at our fingertips. All it takes to find the information is the proper tools, the ability use them and the tenacity to keep at it until you get the results you seek.
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