Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The invisible web

The invisible web
The invisible web is defined as the collection of academic data that is not searchable through the traditional method of using a search engine (Lewandowski & Mayr, 2006). With the growth and expansion of the internet search engines are unable to search many web pages that are at least partially accessible (Anderson, 2008). This unreachable area of the internet has many names including: the hidden web, the dark web, the deep web, and the invisible web.
When searching for information online, the average user will not know if the results provided are from the visible or invisible web (Anderson, 2008). The search engine will do it’s best to retrieve all the information that it has available, and return what it has found. There is no way of telling what information was left behind. However, Anderson (2008) believes that much of the invisible web is in fact discoverable and retrievable. He suggests the use of Bright Planet , because it claims to search more than 70,000 databases in a variety of formats.
Apparently, one of the reasons why the invisible web was indeed invisible was because search engines could only retrieve web pages that were in HTML format. Files that were not in this format, like PDF, MP3 and Excel, were excluded from the results. Search engines are already being improved to include more of a variety of formats in the search results.
Understanding what that the invisible web consists of and learning alternative methods for retrieving information can helpful for college level students researching information. This will allow students to be aware that the total of search results provide on the web is not a definitive portrayal of the information that exists in the world on the particular topic.


Sunday, February 6, 2011

Copyright Protection

The right of copyright protection was first included in the U.S. Constitution (Wilson, 2005). The purpose was to allow artists and inventors to develop new products and masterpieces in order to help the U.S. develop as a powerful nation. The reality is that times have changed. Waxer & Baum (2006) indicated that the copyright law continues to experience changes. The most common change is the increased rights of the authors, which has resulted in conflicts as to the author’s economical right to the product and the intent of society to progress, mentioned in the Progress Clause.
Copyright protection lasts seventy years. During this period of time no one can reproduce the product in exactly the same form. “Copyright protects only particular expressions of ideas, not the ideas themselves”(Wilson, 2005, p.8). During this period of time others can duplicate the methods used to develop the idea as long as they do not replicate the exact product. The length of time that a copyrighted protection lasts does not limit other inventors from creating new products based on the idea of the original product. In that sense, the length of time involved in a copyright protection does not limit progress.
Since there are limits as to what is considered copyrightable material, there are pieces of work that can be used freely by others without the creator’s permission. For example, a writer develops a new book with a creative new plot. Since literary plots are not copyright protected, anyone can write another book using the same plot. On the other hand, you can use the ideas of others freely. For example, the grocery store down the street is using a double coupon Tuesday strategy to persuade customers to enter the store. You can use the same idea.
How can copyright laws be fair to all of those involved? How can any law fully protect the rights of the creator, while allowing technological and creative progress to continue? At what point do the rights of one party become more important than those of the other?