The World Wide Web, or Web, is a component of the Internet. A part of the Web is easily found through search engines, like Google, but a large amount of Web information is part of the Deep or Invisible Web, inaccessible to search-engine indexing. Commercially & educationally related databases are part of this invisible retention area for information, and this section often holds some of the most quality information on the Internet.
Isn't everything you need for a research paper available through Google?
People often use the term interchangeably, but the Internet and the World Wide Web are not the same. In fact, the World Wide Web, or Web, is a component of the Internet. A part of the Web is easily found through spiders and web crawlers sent out by search engines, like Google, but a large amount of Web information is part of the Deep or Invisible Web, inaccessible to search-engine indexing and usually requiring some sort of membership or password. Commercially & educationally related databases, including the library databases at SPC (which are paid for by student tuition and legislative appropriations), are part of this invisible area for information, and they often hold some of the most quality information on the Internet.
Why is information on the Deep Web often higher quality than what's on the general Internet?
Because, if you think about it, information found on the general Internet is often self published without outside evaluation; and while we may not like to think that the Almighty Dollar wins out in the case of research, a publisher must retain an editorial board or jury of peers to review and evaluate submitted material (in order to ensure reliability), and all of that requires financial backing. So, in the end, if the publisher has to pay for the process that works toward excellence, most companies will not make information free on the Internet. That information, thus, becomes part of the Deep Web, and the maxim that you "get what you pay for" appears to ring true. All that being said, remember that SPC library databases are free to students, paid for in your tuition.
Does that mean everything you find on the Deep Web is reliable and that everything you find through Google is questionable?
Absolutely not! With every piece of information, whether from a book, article, or website, you should consider a few evaluative criteria, which you can learn more about under the Evaluating Sources tab.