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Spring 2023 - ENGL 101 Capstone Project - Prof. Stewart

What is the Open Web?

Defining the Open Web

The internet is a global system of interconnected computer networks including government, academic, private, public and business entities. 

The Open Web, also called the surface web, is all of the information available royalty-free in full text, meaning you can read the whole thing without paying. It is also available to anyone without seeking approval or licensing. This information is regularly indexed by search engines, meaning you can locate it using Google or other search tools in a results list.

On the other end of the internet is the deep web. The deep web are the parts of the internet whose contents are not indexed by search engines like Google. Deep web information may also require a password, fee, or other security information to access the full text or media.

free, disorganized and ineffiecient surface or open web compared to sophisticated searching, and subscription based deep web

Original graphic created by Kevin Simons from Northern Virginia Community College, Annandale Campus and adapted by Virginia Community College System librarians for the statewide Connect for Success information literacy tutorial.

Characteristics of Sources on the Open Web

Anyone can edit the internet (with the right device and connection) so sources on the open web require critical evaluation compared to what we see in the library databases. Sources on the open web:

  • can be published by anyone with or without authority or expertise
  • may visually look "official" or use a URL that seems legitimate like .org 
  • may not be accurate or use facts
  • may require payment or be accessed in full text for a fee
  • may be deleted, altered, or relocated without notice

Images and Text adapted from Woodward LibGuide, Reynolds LibGuide.

Culture and Film Criticism on the Open Web

Movie reviews may be a excellent starting point for your capstone on a villain. Not every movie review will be of equal value to your research needs as your instructor will expect you to find more than simple opinion. Tips for locating movie reviews:

  • Search by title, genre (horror, documentary, etc.), or topic (zombies, vampires, etc.). For titles, you quotations to get the exact movie. For example: "Vampire in Brooklyn".
  • How old is the review? Reviews published at the time of release will reflect immediate opinion rather than careful scholarly analysis. 

  • Where was the review published? An open-web resource will not have gone through the editorial review process that a review from a scholarly journal will have. Anyone can say anything on the internet without much serious thought, but thoughtful analysis, albeit critical or positive, can be a quality source or evidence. 

  • Who is the author? The review should be written by an expert in the topic/genre of the film. Open-web authors may know their stuff, but could also be the director's mother with a personal bias that is not suited for scholarly research papers. Google the author and what they do for a living!

  • Wording of the review. A scholarly review is meant for serious researchers and uses the language of the discipline, rather than slang or casual terms. BUT! there may be blogs like The Root that have worthwhile reviews written for a broader audience.

You will then want to use the CRAAP test to evaluate a source in addition to noting the tips above.


Adapted from CSUSM LibGuide and Daytona State LibGuide.

Let's Apply the CRAAP test together:


  • For Capstone Option1, consider searching databases or websites for a movie, villain, or monster by name.
  • For Capstone Option 2, consider looking at databases or websites by theme or genre. For example, gentrification, gender roles, etc.

Open Websites For Film Reviews, Criticism, and Reflection

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