Directories are often a good place to start looking for information on relatively general subjects and to get an overview of what is available on the Web in almost any subject area.
There are two basic approaches to using a subject directory:
There is wide variation in the number and quality of sites included in different directories, as well as in the amount of descriptive information provided for the listed sites. Many of the best-known directories, such as Yahoo!, try to be as comprehensive as possible, with very extensive listings. One disadvantage of these large directories is that they usually do little, if any, review of the quality of the sites they list so it can be difficult to find the best sites in a particular subject area.
Some subject directories only list sites that have been selected as the best sites in various subject areas. These directories are known as selective directories. When using selective directories, it's usually wise to keep your search relatively broad in scope. For example, instead of searching for "elephant seals," it may be better to search for "animals" or "zoology." Selective directories often provide many links to other specialized sites which, in turn, provide links or search engines leading to more specific high-quality documents in a particular subject area.
Recommended selective directories:
Bolner, Mytle S. and Gayle A. Poirier. 1997. The Research Process: Books and Beyond. Dubuque, Iowa: Kendall/Hunt Publishing Co.