Ever wonder why archaeologists (Definition: The systematic study of past human life and culture by the recovery and examination of remaining material evidence, such as graves, buildings, tools, and pottery) and paleontologists (Definition – The study of the forms of life existing in prehistoric or geologic times, as represented by the fossils of plants, animals, and other organisms) keep digging in the dirt, studying all the fragments they find?
Because surprises never cease, because there’s always more to be found and the puzzle is never done. Simply put, many fragments make a whole picture. We want to know our past, so we can understand our present and build for our future generations.
As an online sourcer I have this innate curiosity to see what else is out there when I am on a search. Oh wait, here’s one more place to look, one more hyperlink to click on, just in case I can pick up a new clue. It’s pretty exhausting and tedious when you try to be meticulous and detailed, (talk about stiff necks, aching backs & cramped fingers because I don’t like to stop in the middle of the digging) but it’s priceless when you collect all the pieces and can present that final picture to your client – in house or external.
Did you know the internet is like an iceberg?
You only find one-tenth of what is actually out there in the deep web. That’s the stuff you see sticking out of the water. And this too is sometimes difficult to uncover unless you leverage some good search techniques and have some understanding of Boolean Syntax. However, all the novices can breathe a sigh of relief as they don’t necessarily have to master Boolean since there is an emerging trend towards Semantic search & a ton of automation tools/spiders are now flooding the market. I’d say we’re still a ways from perfection though, plenty of tweaking left. But believe me, understanding Boolean and the basic search concept & web syntax is the foundation to using even the latest clickety click tool.
Ever wonder about the submerged nine-tenths? There so much we don’t know about the web. That’s where some of the meta search engines come in handy http://searchenginewatch.com/2156241
The web has its skeletons too and you can discover them at the Wayback Machine from the folks at Internet Archive. http://www.archive.org/web/web.php
This is a colossal undertaking by a very dedicated team. They are building this “internet library” to throw light on our virtual “digital dark age”. To preserve our virtual world just as much as we strive to preserve our cultural heritage and artifacts. How amazingly cool is that! Besides searching for archived material they have some interesting information. Quoting from a section on their site, “Around the World in 2 Billion Pages” – “The project was designed to take a global snapshot of the Web.” So when you can’t find something or think it might have been archived by the company or entity you were searching, look at what the Wayback Machine can do - “Browse through over 150 billion web pages archived from 1996 to a few months ago.” Oh joy! Now bear in mind this is a work in progress and there are some limitations. The archives are only from 1996. Nevertheless what a treat!
Here’s a fun exercise I thought of! You can also use the Wayback Machine to see the “evolution” of any URL. In fact, this site can help you see where you have come and gone, and since history has a notorious tendency to repeat itself, maybe there is something in the past on a site that may work well today? Like forgotten treasure, uncover names.
See the changes on the website of our firm AGResearch http://web.archive.org/web/*/http://www.agresearch.info
Or see how parts of the IBM website developed http://web.archive.org/web/*/http://www.ibm.com
Anyone for a “TAKE ME BACK” ride???
So there is no doubt we humans are curious beings. Always question the 4Ws – Who? Where? Why? What? And then ~TAA-DAA! Use your HOW expertise to mine the deep fathoms of the Internet.
And now you know why I care about Dinosaurs so much. They are gone, but the evidence is there. You just have to find it. Care to dig? (or Digg or if you would rather Tweet this post. LOL)