"The Web is like the game of Othello. Remember?
'a moment to learn, a lifetime to master.'"
--Lou Rosenfeld, University of Michigan, SLIS, n.d.
There are two kinds of gateways: library gateways and portals.
Lesson 3 for a discussion of
Library gateways are collections of databases and informational
sites, arranged by subject, that
have been assembled,
reviewed and recommended by specialists,
usually librarians. These gateway collections support research and
reference needs by
identifying and pointing to recommended, academically-oriented pages
on the Web. See list of examples below.
Subject-Specific Databases (sometimes called "Vortals")
Subject-specific databases, or vortals (i.e., "vertical portals")
are databases devoted to a single subject, created by
professors, researchers, experts,
governmental agencies, business interests, and other subject
specialists and/or individuals who have a deep interest in, and professional knowledge of, a particular
field and have accumulated information and data about it. See list of
There is a large portion of the Web that search
engine spiders cannot, or may not, index. It has been dubbed
the "Invisible Web" or the "Deep Web"
and includes, among other things, pass-protected sites,
documents behind firewalls, archived material, the contents of certain databases, and
information that isn't static but assembled dynamically in
response to specific queries.
Web profilers agree that the "Invisible Web," which is made up of
thousands of such documents and databases, accounts for 60 to 80
percent of existing Web material. This is information you
probably assumed you could access
by using standard search engines, but that's not always the case.
According to the
Invisible Web Catalog, these resources may or may not be visible
to search engine spiders, although today's search engines are
getting better and better at finding and indexing the contents of
"Invisible Web" pages.
In order to access so-called "Invisible Web" sites, you need to point
your browser directly at them. That's what many library gateways and
subject-specific databases do. They are good sources
links to database
stored on the "Invisible Web."
Use library gateways when you are looking for
high quality information sites on the Web. You can be fairly certain
that these sites have been reviewed and evaluated by subject
for their accuracy and content.
Use subject-specific databases when looking for
information on a specific topic, e.g., news links, multimedia files,
lists, people, job finders, and thousands of databases
devoted to specific topics of interest.
Today, more and more of the so-called "main-stream" search
engines, subject directories and portals are pointing to these
subject-specific databases, using direct links on their
A few years ago, I co-created an online tutorial with a lesson on
"Netiquette," i.e., computer etiquette. What would you need to know in order to
find this lesson on the web?
First, try searching for my lesson on one of the search engines,
Ask, using the single search term -- netiquette. Did you find me?
Now, try tracking me down by going back to the same search engine, Google or
pointing directly to the page in question. You can do this in one of
several ways. Suppose I gave you some keywords to add to your search term, creating the following
netiquette bck2skol chamberlain.
Could you find me now? Try your search again and
Without specific search terms, you might not come across my site. Now that you're there,
read the lesson (it's still relevant), and "dust up" your
computer "netiquette" skills.
Evaluating Web Pages
[Table of Contents]
[Gateways & Databases]
[Evaluating Web Pages]
Last updated by E. Chamberlain, Thursday September 07, 2006