In this issue, we will continue to explore the web data provided by several sites located on what is commonly referred to as the invisible web. These sites are certainly not your “beginner” or “skip guesser” sites. Most of them require certain advanced skills to manipulate and massage the data. For the professional tracer to obtain the desired information needed to complete their searches, it is imperative they possess the required skills and a thorough understanding of exact data extraction techniques. I have visited and conducted searches on each of these sites to insure they are working and functional as of December 23.
The first site we will look at is Find Law. My staff and I utilize the information on this site to gather information on legal issues. Our agency finds this site quite useful and easy to manipulate as it is organized by category. Besides the fact that you can gather information regarding certain areas of law we find this site most useful when our investigation requires that we locate and profile an attorney or legal firm. Knowing what attorney represents the subject of your investigation allows you to locate and read pleadings that may provide location information on the person you are tracing. I have used this site many times to locate the employment of a high-profile person.
This has, in the past, been an outstanding site to search for magazine articles that may have been written about the subject on which you are gathering trace data. The site is very easy to manipulate. You may obtain information by selecting the related area of employment and then entering the name of the person for which you are searching. For example, select the category of “Business” and then enter the name “Ron Brown” and you will view business articles where the name Ron Brown appears. My information indicates this site will cease entering new articles as of January 2016 but will continue to archive and allow access to the data prior to that date.
Now we will explore one of the largest meta data sites I have discovered on the hidden web. I have found that this data source contained volumes of data, far beyond my original expectations. I also discovered that the contents are easily manipulated and massaged enabling the user to extract all types of information. The databank contains statistical information related to demographic and socioeconomic matters across the world. If you are searching international sources you will find information from publications from Africa, Asia, Central America, Europe, North America and South America. In the header, you will find “Data-Related Publications” and “Find Data.” Both of these are very useful. I would advise you to also look under “Resources for Students” where you will find “Using Resources for Instructors.” This is an excellent data-driven learning guide for sharpening your tracing and research skills.
This is a bonus, just for the professional tracer. This is the government website which archives and allows accessibility to all government manuals and publications. You name the subject and if the U.S. Government has ever written about it. There are databanks which contain:
• The GPO Historic Shelflist, which is the U.S. Government Publishing Office’s (GPO) historic card catalog covering U.S. Government documents from the 1800s to October 1992.
• Electronic Titles, this catalog contains records for and links to Federal Government publications that are available online. Records date from July 1976 to the present.
• The Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) Web Archive, which is comprised of selected U.S. Government websites, harvested and archived to create working “snapshots” of the websites at various points in time. The aim is to provide permanent public access to federal agency web content.
The catalogue of U.S. Government publications is the finding tool for federal publications that includes descriptive information for historical and current publications as well as direct links to the full document, when available. Users can search by authoring agency, title, subject and general keywords, or click on “Advanced Search” for more options. I would also encourage you to try the federated search engine https://metalib.gpo.gov to retrieve reports, articles and citations by simultaneously searching across multiple U.S. Federal Government databases.