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Editor’s Note: This post is re-published with permission from the Deep Web Technologies Blog. This is a guest article by Lisa Brownlee. The 2015 edition of her book, “Intellectual Property Due Diligence in Corporate Transactions: Investment, Risk Assessment and Management”, originally published in 2000, will dive into discussions about using the Deep Web and the Dark Web for Intellectual Property research, emphasizing its importance and usefulness when performing legal due-diligence.

Lisa M. Brownlee is a private consultant and has become an authority on the Deep Web and the Dark Web, particularly as they apply to legal due-diligence. She writes and blogs for Thomson Reuters.  Lisa is an internationally-recognized pioneer on the intersection between digital technologies and law.


In this blog post I will delve in some detail into the Deep Web. This expedition will focus exclusively on that part of the Deep Web that excludes the Dark Web.  I cover both Deep Web and Dark Web legal due diligence in more detail in my blog and book, Intellectual Property Due Diligence in Corporate Transactions: Investment, Risk Assessment and Management. In particular, in this article I will discuss the Deep Web as a resource of information for legal due diligence.

When Deep Web Technologies invited me to write this post, I initially intended to primarily delve into the ongoing confusion Binary code and multiple screensregarding Deep Web and Dark Web terminology. The misuse of the terms Deep Web and Dark Web, among other related terms, are problematic from a legal perspective if confusion about those terms spills over into licenses and other contracts and into laws and legal decisions. The terms are so hopelessly intermingled that I decided it is not useful to even attempt untangling them here. In this post, as mentioned, I will specifically cover the Deep Web excluding the Dark Web. The definitions I use are provided in a blog post I wrote on the topic earlier this year, entitled The Deep Web and the Dark Web – Why Lawyers Need to Be Informed.

Deep Web: a treasure trove of and data and other information

The Deep Web is populated with vast amounts of data and other information that are essential to investigate during a legal due diligence in order to find information about a company that is a target for possible licensing, merger or acquisition. A Deep Web (as well as Dark Web) due diligence should be conducted in order to ensure that information relevant to the subject transaction and target company is not missed or misrepresented. Lawyers and financiers conducting the due diligence have essentially two options: conduct the due diligence themselves by visiting each potentially-relevant database and conducting each search individually (potentially ad infinitum), or hire a specialized company such as Deep Web Technologies to design and setup such a search. Hiring an outside firm to conduct such a search saves time and money.

Deep Web data mining is a science that cannot be mastered by lawyers or financiers in a single or a handful of transactions. Using a specialized firm such as DWT has the added benefit of being able to replicate the search on-demand and/or have ongoing updated searches performed. Additionally, DWT can bring multilingual search capacities to investigations—a feature that very few, if any, other data mining companies provide and that would most likely be deficient or entirely missing in a search conducted entirely in-house.

What information is sought in a legal due diligence?

A legal due diligence will investigate a wide and deep variety of topics, from real estate to human resources, to basic corporate finance information, industry and company pricing policies, and environmental compliance. Due diligence nearly always also investigates intellectual property rights of the target company, in a level of detail that is tailored to specific transactions, based on the nature of the company’s goods and/or services. DWT’s Next Generation Federated Search is particularly well-suited for conducting intellectual property investigations.

In sum, the goal of a legal due diligence is to identify and confirm basic information about the target company and determine whether there are any undisclosed infirmities with the target company’s assets and information as presented. In view of these goals, the investing party will require the target company to produce a checklist full of items about the various aspects of the business (and more) discussed above. An abbreviated correlation between the information typically requested in a due diligence and the information that is available in the Deep Web is provided in the chart attached below. In the absence of assistance by Deep Web Technologies with the due diligence, either someone within the investor company or its outside counsel will need to search in each of the databases listed, in addition to others, in order to confirm the information provided by the target company is correct and complete. While representations and warranties are typically given by the target company as to the accuracy and completeness of the information provided, it is also typical for the investing company to confirm all or part of that information, depending on the sensitivities of the transaction and the areas in which the values–and possible risks might be uncovered.

Deep Web Legal Due-Diligence Resource List PDF icon


UC Berkeley Professor Marti Hearst has just completed Search User Interfaces, an academic book on the topic. Cambridge University Press will be releasing print copies in September but the full text is available online now for free.

The terms of service for the online version of the book does not permit posting any of its contents so, even though short excerpts from the book would probably be acceptable fair use, I’ll respect the terms of service and I won’t be quoting from the book in this article.

I don’t consider this series of articles to be a formal review of the book but more of a sampling of ideas I found interesting and instructive.

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When I reviewed Going Beyond Google I made a mental note to try to find an inexpensive consumer-oriented guide to performing research in the deep Web. While Going Beyond Google is a great book that I highly recommend for use in LIS programs, the book is a class text and at $65 it’s not a book that is aimed at the masses.

When I learned about’s $18 guide to Online Research I became very curious to see if I had found a complement to Going Beyond Google. I got a review copy from the publisher and what follows are my impressions of the book.

The Online Research book is authored by Wendy Boswell,’s guide to Web Search. The book is 276 pages long and has 15 chapters plus several appendices. The book was published in 2007. While this may seem pretty current, depending on what month the book was published it might be two and a half years old. That’s getting old given the numerous references to web resources.

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Web 2.0 is a fascination of mine. I’m very community oriented and I’ve watched the computer industry evolve over the past nearly thirty years. I’m very excited about the potential for people and computers to change the world and to help solve our most pressing problems.

Lorcan Dempsey took a look at O’Reilly’s “Programming Collective Intelligence” and he inspired me to look at the book as well. I blogged about Lorcan’s blog article and was able to get a review copy of the book.

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Late last month, Free Pint Limited published a document, Federated Search Report and Tool Kit. The report was authored by Jill Hurst-Wahl. Jill has an extensive background in information technology and library science. Her web-site has additional biographical information beyond the following paragraph:

Jill Hurst-Wahl has worked in and around information for most of her life. Her background is in information technology and library science. She has been both a programmer/analyst and a corporate librarian. While a corporate librarian, she worked on competitive intelligence research projects and helped to build a competitive intelligence system that used digitization as one of the methods of inputting information. That was more than 15 years ago and Jill has continued to do work both in the areas of digitization and competitive intelligence.

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[ Editor’s note: This review of one of the chapters from Christopher Cox’s collection of federated search articles is by Susan Fingerman. Susan is on the staff of the R.E. Gibson Library, Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, in Laurel, MD.

Susan, like other reviewers, selected three articles to read and comment on. Susan picked the theme of user expectations for all three of her articles. Below is her second review. The review articulates six challenges to federated search, including “disaggregation,” a term I have to admit, is new to me.

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[ Editor’s note: Once upon a time, when I was doing much more software development than I am doing today, I found myself with a project where I had to deal with the differences between SRU and SRW. The world of web services and their related standards was quite mysterious to me at the time. Carl Grant, President of CARE Affiliates, reviews an essay in Christopher Cox’s book about federated search that discusses these two standards in the context of a number of standards of interest to the federated search and library community. While you’ll need to read the actual essay to understand the standards, Carl Grant does a fine job of reviewing how the chapter treats SRU, in particular.

Given the quality of the essays in Mr. Cox’s book plus the severe lack of any books related to federated search, I highly recommend the book. You can purchase a copy of Mr. Cox’s book of essays from the publisher, Taylor & Francis, who donated the review copies, by calling their Customer Service department, Monday-Friday 9 A.M. – 5 P.M. EDT, at (800) 634-7064.

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[ Editor’s note: This review of one of the chapters from Christopher Cox’s collection of federated search articles is by Susan Fingerman. Susan is on the staff of the R.E. Gibson Library, Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, in Laurel, MD.

Susan, like other reviewers, selected three articles to read and comment on. Susan picked the theme of user expectations for all three of her articles. Below is her first review which tells of how one library marketed its newly acquired federated search solution to its constituents plus lessons learned.

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[ Editor’s note: Carl Grant, President of CARE Affiliates, was one of the volunteers who took me up on my offer to review several chapters of Christopher Cox’s book about federated search. Following is his review of one of the chapters: “Developing the Right RFP for Selecting Your Federated Search Product: Lessons Learned and Tips from Recent Experience” by Jerry Caswell and John Wynstra.

I appreciate that this review comes from a seasoned federated search vendor; Carl Grant has been in the library automation industry for a long time and raises an important concern about the RFP process, how his experience is that the current RFP model doesn’t really serve the customer or vendor, and he touches on what he sees as a better approach.

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Last month I gave away three copies of Christopher Cox’s book, Federated Search: Solution or Setback for Online Library Services, in exchange for reviews to be published on this blog. The books were kindly donated by Taylor & Francis.

Three volunteers stepped up and I have commitments to review these essays in the coming weeks:

  1. Build It (and Customize and Market It) and They Will Come
  2. Challenges for Federated Searching
  3. Integrating Library Services: A Proposal to Enable Federation of Information and User Services
  4. User Expectations in the Time of Google
  5. User Perceptions of MetaLib Combined Search
  6. Initiating the Learning Process
  7. Librarian Perspective on Teaching Metasearch and Federated Search Technologies
  8. Developing the right RFP for selecting your federated search product
  9. Planning and implementing a Federated Searching System
  10. SRU, Open Data and the future of Metasearch

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