06 Web Directories

While focusing on Web directories, we learn about several different ways of using the work of others to help find information on the Web.

Class held on 09/22/2008. Student notes are available on this page. Possible questions are available on this page.

Class structure

  1. Go through “At beginning of class” information
    • You should read the “On your own” stuff even though I'm not going to discuss them
  2. Lecture. This will involve
    • Constructing the diagram
    • Constructing the flow diagrams for
      • Mailing lists and groups
      • Web directories
  3. Work on exercises

At beginning of class

On your own

  1. Before this class you should have already finished the exercises from last class (and all previous classes)
  2. If any of you wrote a blog entry, please turn it in now. Generally, if you have written a blog entry, just bring it up to the podium for me before class starts.
  3. Check who is doing class notes for today.
  4. Check who is doing the Industry updates for next class.
  5. You should be thinking about the topic for your term project. I have only met with one student about his topic so far.
    • Be sure to read the description of the assignment.
    • Also look at the list of industry sectors that you might select.
    • On day 8, which is September 29, you are turning in the first status report for your term project. On that date, you need to have decided on the topic, you need to have discussed your topic with me, described the topic on the start page of your wiki, and updated your information (that is, indicated the title of your wiki) on the class wiki's list of student wikis.

I'll go over with them

  1. Go over announcements made since the previous class.
  2. Return the assignment.
  3. Return the blogs from last class.
  4. You can start working on the next assignment. It is due on September 29.
  5. Industry updates

My notes: Using the work of others

  1. Web directories
    1. Defining characteristics
      • Defined categories of topics (ex: Yahoo Directory's categories)
      • Categorized sites
      • Browse or search
    2. Searching differs from full text search: should think about query terms as defining a class of results, not a specific result
    3. Role it fulfills
      • Allows an organization to gather, collect, and organize Web resources in an organized hierarchy. Keeps a user from having to search through the whole Web to find the best resources.
    4. Examples
  2. Groups & Mailing lists
    1. Defining characteristics
      • Messages between users sent over a period of time
      • Email might be involved (or it might not!)
      • Descriptions are searchable
        • But messages are only searchable sometimes
      • Searching descriptions is like searching a web Directory
        • Searching messages is a very strange, inexact process
    2. Role it fulfills
      • Very up-to-date, highly personalized information in the messages
        • As searchable information, it's not so great, but as a resource for yourself, it's invaluable
    3. How to locate: Either through group directories, mailing list services, web directories, or full text search engines
    4. Examples
  3. Glossaries, dictionaries, & encyclopedias
    1. Defining characteristics
      • Definitions of a set of related terms
      • A company, an organization or a person might assemble these
    2. Role it fulfills
      • Helps you get familiar with a topic area more quickly than otherwise
    3. How to locate
      • Use specialized search process in a full text search engine
      • There are also a few collections of these documents
    4. Examples
  4. Assembled pages of links
    1. Defining characteristics
      • An evolving set of links that a person or organization has gathered on a specific topic
    2. Role it fulfills
      • Allows an organization or person to share its expertise
    3. How to locate
      • Use specialized search process in a full text search engine
    4. Examples

In-class examples

Full-text versus Web directory


Stephen Hawking

Investment guidance

Groups & mailing lists: Behavioral finance

  1. Yahoo Groups
  2. Google Groups
  3. Behavioral finance at The Mail Archive — 35 messages


Behavioral finance

  1. behavioral finance at Yahoo Directory — 84 categories, plus 196 individual URLs
  2. Behavioral finance at DMOZ — 3 categories (not good matches) and 4 sites
  3. No results at Mahalo
  4. No results at Alltop

Market research in the consumer packaged goods industry

  1. Yahoo Directory
  2. dmoz
  3. Mahalo — no results
  4. Alltop — no results


Look at The Glossarist, eGlossary, and Frank Dietz's Glossary Listing.

Links, directories, resources, and what's new: Investment guidance

  1. investment guidance links — 349,000 documents (1.77 million in 2007)
  2. 'investment guidance' links — 15,300 documents (18,000 in 2007)
  3. intitle:'investment guidance' links — 155 documents (125 in 2007)
  4. intitle:'investment guidance' directory — 11 documents (10 in 2007)
  5. intitle:'investment guidance' resources — 90 documents (86 in 2007)
  6. intitle:"investment guidance" "what's new" — 3 documents (5 in 2007)
  7. intitle:'investment guidance' (links OR directory OR resources OR 'what's new') — 146 documents (143 in 2007)
  8. intitle:"investment guidance" (intitle:links OR intitle:directory OR intitle:resources OR intitle:"what's new") — 9 documents


  1. Directories
    1. Yahoo Directory
    2. Open Directory Project
    3. Mahalo
    4. Alltop
    5. Best of the Web (been around since 1994!)
    6. The WWW Virtual Library
    7. Starting Point
  2. Groups
    1. Yahoo Groups
    2. Google Groups — more than 1 billion Usenet messages over 25 years
      1. Usenet timeline
      2. What is Usenet? (Part 1, Part 2)
      3. Google Groups Help Center
  3. Glossaries and dictionaries
    1. The Glossarist — dictionary of glossaries.
    2. eGlossary — can't find out when this was updated.
    3. Frank Dietz's Glossary Listing — strange, but it's good
    4. Information.Org's listings for Glossaries
    5. Google Directory Listing of Dictionaries
    6. Yahoo Directory Listing of Dictionaries
    7. Law.com Legal Dictionary
    8. TechWeb Encyclopedia
    9. Webopedia — computer & Internet technology definitions
  4. Email lists
    1. Mail Archive — archive of 9000 (4840 in 2007) mailing lists, containing 57.2 million (48.5 in 2007) messages.
    2. Tile.net — the reference guide to email newsletters & discussion lists
    3. Topica appears to have changed their focus. They certainly don't advertise that they have than email discussion list directory — - but they do. You can search either the list description or the messages themselves.
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