Web Directories

1) Introduction
2) Web Directories
3) Search Engines
4) Understanding a URL

5) Five Types of Webpages
6) Evaluation Criteria
7) Quiz

Web subject directories are general subject indexes to all types of Web sites and other Internet documents. Each site included in a directory is listed under one or more subject categories, as determined by the directory's indexers. The listing for each site usually includes a brief description of the site.

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:

  • You can do a keyword search to see which sites have subject, title or descriptive words matching your search words.
  • You can browse through a list of hierarchical subject categories from general to specific until you find listings for your topic.

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:

Works Cited:
Guernsey, Lisa. c 1998. College.Edu: On-Line Resources for the Cyber-Savvy Student. Alexandria, VA: Octameron Associates.

Bolner, Mytle S. and Gayle A. Poirier. 1997. The Research Process: Books and Beyond. Dubuque, Iowa: Kendall/Hunt Publishing Co.