Research Tools: Google, the Deep Web, and more!

The Chronicle of Higher Education recently had a post on the new “research tool” built right into Google Docs. This tool allows users to highlight any text in a Google Doc and then right click to select “Research.” This opens a sidebar with the top Google hits. A drop down menu allows the user to select only hits from Google Scholar. The top hits are then converted into citations pre-formatted in one of three styles (Chicago, APA, MLA) and provides a link to the article as well as the option to insert the citation into the document as a footnote.

While this new addition to Google Docs is certainly not offering the best in research strategies, by building “Cite” buttons directly into the search results, it does make citation seem both necessary and proper.

When additional research is required, the Library has prepared a series of “research guides” on topics of study common to Ryerson University, and assorted web tools that can be integrated directly into Google, connecting Google Scholar directly to the Ryerson Library resources.

Although a great majority of web research is conducted via Google products, there was an interesting poster presentation at the 2012 Ryerson Faculty Conference on “deep web” content. Google and other standard search engines only crawl the “surface web.” The deep web consists of all the pages out of the reach of these crawlers. According to Jay Wolofsky and Lei Jin of the Ryerson Library, the deep web is “currently 400 to 500 times larger than the commonly defined World Wide Web (7,500 terabytes of information compared to 19
terabytes of information in the surface web). The Deep Web contains 550 billion individual documents compared to 1 billion in the surface web.”

These pages can be accessed with specialized deep web search engines, which Jay and Lei highlighted on their poster. Some of those choices are excerpted below:

Academic and Institutional Document Repositories

OpenDOAR: The Directory of Open Access Repositories

MIMAS Institutional Repository Search

Multidisciplinary Deep Web Search


Business Deep Web Search


Science and Technology


E-print Network for energy, science, and technology

Mednar: Deep Web Medical Search

World Wide Science

Social Science Research Network

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