Web Directories

1. Introduction: A web directory classify, categorize and provide liking to Web sites available over World Wide Web often with a description and are created most often by humans to meet the browsing need of the user. Many large directories include a keyword search option which usually eliminates the need of going through numerous levels of topics and subtopics. Web directory uses different system in categorizing the web resources. Web directories are often called “web trees” because they start with a few main categories and then branch out into subcategories, topics, and subtopics.


2. Types of Web Directories: Web directories can be of the following types

a) Web Directory: A web directory deals with all types of web resources in all types of subject areas. For example: DMOZ (https://dmoz-odp.org/), The World Wide Web Virtual Library (http://vlib.org), Best of the Web (http://botw.org), etc.

b) Subject Directory: A subject directory is a catalogue of sites collected and organized by humans in a specific subject only. Generally, subject directory is treated as a broader term than that of Subject Gateways. For example: Library and Information Science Gateway (http://www.lisgateway.com/)

c) Subject Gateways: According to Place (2000), “Subject gateways are Internet- based services designed to help the users locate high quality information that is available on the Internet. They are, typically, data bases of detailed metadata (or catalogue) records which describe Internet resources and offer a hyperlink to the resources.” Users can choose to either search the database by keyword, or to browse the resources under subject headings”. For example: The Math Forum: Internet Mathematics Library (http://mathforum.org/library/)

3. Importance of Web Directories: Web directory search engines are trying to compete with search engines. Web directories such as the Open Directory Project (DMOZ) are, in a sense, the Internet equivalent of a public library and differ from the search engine in its provision of browsing the resources by some categories. The advantages of the web directories can be looked from the following angles-

a) Provide a Point to Explore: Directories are useful for finding information on a topic when you don't have a precise idea of what you need. The search engines are only for the people who have an idea what they are looking for and web directories are for the people who don’t know about the concept or idea but they are interested to know about that.

b) Provide Reliable Websites: Because humans organize the websites in subject directories and it covers only a small fraction of the pages available on the web, one can often find a good websites in the web directories if the topic is included.

c) Provide a Starting Point: Subject directories are also most effective for finding general information on popular or scholarly subjects and they provide a starting point to the user.


4. Examples of Web Directories: Some of the examples of web directories are as follows

a) Open Directory Project (https://dmoz-odp.org): Open Directory lists scholarly and popular websites. The Open Directory Project, also known as Directory Mozilla (DMOZ), relies on a volunteer work force of editors who, by selecting, classifying and cataloguing resources, are trying to build the largest library on the Internet. Mozilla was an early name for the Netscape Navigator Web browser. DMOZ is owned by Netscape Communications, but the information and database are freely available to other companies. The raw open-source directory is used by Google, Netscape Search, AOL Search, Lycos, HotBot, and DirectHit.

b) Best of the Web (http://botw.org): The Best of the Web is categorized list of sites that are rich in content and organized by topic and region that is also searchable by keyword.

c) World Wide Web Virtual Library (http://vlib.org): The earliest Subject Directory search engine which covered WWW sites worldwide was the World Wide Web Virtual Library (http://vlib.org). It presented an alphabetical index of subjects and is based on Library of Congress Classification System.

d) A1WebDirectory.org (http://www.a1webdirectory.org): A1WebDirectory.org is a collection of Web sites organized into general categories with subheadings and short descriptions.

e) JoeAnt (http://joeant.com): JoeAnt.com is about providing a directory of quality sites for Internet users. The web sites included in JoeAnt are chosen by editors and organized into subjects.


5. Conclusion: Web directories are collection of websites organised into categories. It specializes in linking to other web sites and categorizing those links. Due to evolution of the search engines and increasingly people reliance over search engines to perform any type of task pose a serious threat to the existing of the web directories. This is the main reason why a number of web directories, subject directories or subject gateways like Resource Discovery Network (RDN) or Intute are closed down.

How to Cite this Article?

APA Citation, 7th Ed.:  Barman, B. (2020). A comprehensive book on Library and Information Science. New Publications.

Chicago 16th Ed.:  Barman, Badan. A Comprehensive Book on Library and Information Science. Guwahati: New Publications, 2020.

MLA Citation 8th Ed:  Barman, Badan. A Comprehensive Book on Library and Information Science. New Publications, 2020.