Uncovering the right materials for your course

You instruct your students using various resources: textbooks, lectures, outside speaker videos, etc. You’ve switched texts and realized you need that item to round out a module or replace an outdated product. Searching the web may not meet your needs. This tip discusses resources available via the deep web.

What is the deep web? A routine search skims the surface web. The deep web is far  more vast. Eric Schmidt of Google estimated that “Google has indexed roughly 200 terabytes, or only .004% of the total internet.’1 While the Open Education Database says it’s about .03%, point zero three percent! 2 So simple searches truly limit what is available to share with your class.


How do you find, search and sift through the wealth of materials not cataloged by the top three U.S. search engines: Google, Bing, and Yahoo?3

Start local. Log into your Rasmuson library account to access EBSCOhost. You may choose multiple databases to search. Academic Search Premiere–the default–is just one of 61. https://ecampus.uaf.edu/go/-library-db

Share specific information about your area of expertise that is more current than a textbook. Find materials not commonly cataloged by the standard search engines. View each of the following for ideas:

https://oedb.org/ilibrarian/research-beyond-google/ by the Open Education Database for a list of several deep web search engines as well as web accessible databases for Art, Business, Finance, STEM, etc.

https://www.loadb.org/Control.do?_brse contains a large collection of science and technology resources compiled by Listing of Open Access DataBases

You may need to set up an account to gain access to select databases. Not all of the resources will be openly accessible. Some resources will allow you access to because of your affiliation with UAF.


For Alaskan Studies, look at the state resource: https://lam.alaska.gov/sled/ Visit soon as some resources are scheduled to be discontinued. There are also four databases accessible via the Rasmuson library.

For Literature, History and Classical Studies consider Open access ebooks such as those stored on school websites.

While searching for out of print or Creative Commons license materials. I lost myself in Athens with a host of resources that meet fair use guidelines. CORINTH: Results of Excavations conducted by The American School of Classical Studies at Athens is a 1936 book complete with amazingly detailed graphics. Spend a semester learning about Athenian Agora –open spaces–and Corinth. View all Hesperia articles from 1932-2011 in one place. You can find these same articles via the Rasmuson library, but seeing this list in one place gives you authors, titles, and abstracts to help you on your way: https://ecampus.uaf.edu/go/ascsa-oa-ebooks


  1. How to Search the Invisible Web. Online Universities. Retrieved from  https://www.onlineuniversities.com/articles/students/how-to-search-invisible-web/.
  2. The Ultimate Guide to the Invisible Web. (2013). Open Education Database. Retrieved from  https://oedb.org/ilibrarian/invisible-web/.

  3. Research Beyond Google: 56 Authoritative, Invisible, and Comprehensive Resources. Open Education Database. Retrieved from  https://oedb.org/ilibrarian/research-beyond-google/


Teaching Tips: Open books

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