You can search the Deep Web for many topics, but searching for academic scholarship has the fewest headaches.  It is easier than other topics because there are so many colleges and universities who have dedicated staff and resources to indexing their collections. However, there is no central repository where all these indexes reside. So deep web is still the medium by which your target must be sought.

++ updated 9/14/2012

How to do a Academic Deep Web Search

More than likely you will need to do a three tier approach to finding your target scholarship:

  1. Identify the type of collection that would have it and search for it
  2. Find the index search portal and search for your scholarship resource
  3. Download or request a copy via ILL or other appropriate means

No one said it was going to be easy. We’re sure as hell not going to tell you that either. It may come as a let down that most of the time you won’t be able to get a full text article, but only an abstract. You’ll have to make requests to get the source documents. Remember, winners do what others won’t do.

Again my open letter to users – if you find a bad link or know of quality deep web engines, let us know via a comment.  Quick and easy.

last update 13AUG12.

 Scholarship Search Engines

Open Thesis – http://www.openthesis.org/ – OpenThesis is a free repository of theses, dissertations, and other academic documents, coupled with  search, organization, and collaboration tools.

Center for Research Libraries – http://www.crl.edu/collections/topics/dissertations – “The Center for Research Libraries (CRL) is an international consortium of university, college, and independent research libraries. Founded in 1949, CRL supports advanced research and teaching in the humanities, sciences, and social sciences by preserving and making available to scholars the primary source material critical to those disciplines.” -CPL website , 5AUG12  Predominately non US thesis.

Google Scholar – http://scholar.google.com/ – Google indexed the easy stuff.

Harvard – http://adswww.harvard.edu/  – Physics and Astrophysics

Science based academic – http://worldwidescience.org – The WorldWideScience Alliance, a multilateral partnership, consists of participating member countries and provides the governance structure for WorldWideScience.org.  On behalf of the WorldWideScience Alliance, WorldWideScience.org was developed and is maintained by the Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI), an element of the Office of Science within the U.S. Department of Energy.

Bielefeld Academic Search Engine – www.base-search.net – BASE is one of the world’s most voluminous search engines especially for academic open access web resources. BASE is operated by Bielefeld University Library. Pulls from over 2,200 sources, mainly Universities. (see source list )

CiteSeerx – citeseer.ist.psu.edu/index  – Mainly focus on articles for computer and informational science

Refseek – www.refseek.com – Currently in Beta, it attempts to search academic, open source, newspaper, and web content for academic content. No where near as comprehensive or accurate in locating documentation as the Base search hosted by Bielefeld, but it has promise.

Scitation – scitation.aip.org/ Over two million articles in fields that include physics, chemistry geosciences, engineering, acoustics and more..

Deep Dyve  (Commercial) www.deepdyve.com   DeepDyve has aggregated millions of articles across thousands of journals from the world’s leading publishers, including Springer, Nature Publishing Group, Wiley-Blackwell and more.

African Journals Online – www.ajol.info In partnership with hundreds of journals from all over the continent, AJOL works to change this, so that African-origin research output is available to Africans and to the rest of the world.

SciVerse – www.info.sciverse.com/scopus   Scopus is the world’s largest abstract and citation database of peer-reviewed literature. Contains 47 million records, 70% with abstracts.  I tested it a bit and found it lacking, but it is big on promise, alleging 19,500 titles from 5,000 publishers worldwide.