Know the difference between a search engine and a directory

A search engine lets you seek out specific words and phrases in Web pages. A directory is more like a subject catalog in the library-- a human being has determined the main point of a Web page and has categorized it based on a classification scheme of topics and subtopics used by that directory. Many of the search engines have also developed browsable subject catalogues, and most of the directories also have a search engine, so the distinction between them is blurring.

Jack Solock, Special Librarian at InterNIC Net Scout, classifies Web directories into categories based on the amount of human intervention. The categories he uses are subject catalogs, annotated directories and subject guides.

A subject catalog classifies Web pages into subject categories and uses excerpts from the Web page as a short description. An annotated directory divides sites by subject but also contains analysis of the site by an editor, librarian or subject r-

specialist, who writes a description to assist the user. A subject guide attempts to provide a selection of sites relating to a particular subject which represent high quality resources, thus representing the highest level of human intervention of the three types because it involves building a collection of sites to represent a subject area.

Mr. Solock categorizes the following resources: Yahoo, BUBL and Galaxy as subject catalogs,

Magellan, Lycos Top 5%, and InterNIC Directory of Directories as annotated directories and

Argus Clearinghouse and the WWW Virtual Library as subject guides.

Read his article, "Searching the Internet Part II: Subject Catalogs, Annotated Directories, and Subject Guides" at http://rs.internic.net/nic-support/nicnews/-oct96/enduser.html for more good information about directories (Solock 1996 B).

See the links to Web directories (p. 51) and to sources which have done evaluations of the various features of Web directories and search engines (http://www.ipl.org/teen/aplus/linksother.htmfinterpret).

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