Tuesday, March 22, 2005

The Open Directory: A Short Critique

In theory, this directory seems to be innovative, influential and greatly useful. It is understandable that other existing directories, such as Google, have become overloaded with constantly developing web sites and the editors cannot keep up. Thus, the directories become crowded and their organization is corrupted. The Open Directory means to eliminate this problem. The global community of volunteer editors work to ensure the organization and success of the Open Directory, in attempt to eliminate the traditional problems with crowded directories. The site is advantageous in its structure, organization, and its simlutaneous simplicity and sophistication. One disadvantage that I found was that the results for my "Semantic Web" query were not ranked in any particular order. While the list of results apparently included all links with information related to my query, the most popular or relevant sites were not necessarily near the top of the list. The user must filter through all of the results to retrieve the information best suited for their research purposes. In this aspect, the Open Directory remains similar to other popular search engines, such as Google. Google is more aesthetically appealing and i am more familiar with the Google search engine. Therefore, I will probably stick to Google as my internet search tool. the lay out of results in Google are also different, in that a short blurb is given about each result and you have the option of saving search preferences, conducting advanced searches, requesting pages only from Canada etc. Perhaps all of these bells and whistles are unnecessary for a site whose organization is as great as the Open Directory's. Regardless, I enjoy Google and all of its bells and whistles and will probably stick to it as my search engine in the future.

Katie Ablett

Visualization Tools: The Good and The Evil

I was most interested in the Visual Thesaurus. I enjoyed that the word you wanted to find synonyms for was at the centre of the map, and the others were attached and interconnected according to meaning. Not only did the map show which synonyms matched my word, but it also enabled me to deduce the word that best fit the meaning I desired. When you hover your mouse over a point on the map a definition is given, and often a sentence which uses the word correctly. It is common, when using a thesaurus, to replace one word with another that is synonymous but inappropriate in the given context. The organization of the map and the sample sentence given in the visual thesaurus help to eliminate this traditional problem with thesaures. The site was also fun to use, simple, and aesthetically appealing.

My least favourite tool was the Touchgraph Google Browser. I disliked it primarily because I tried to access it from my home computer and it would not open! After several attempts i became frustrated, which is to be expected. Now, I like to think that I have some sophisticated knowledge of computers, since we've been raised to use them from childhood, but I have no idea why it wouldn't work. Now, i was able to see sample graphs from the Touchgraph home page, and they seemed very complex and detailed. The idea is very interesting to me, but I am unsure whether my technical knowledge would be suffice for me to have an appreciation for such a complex graph. In any case, I also enjoyed the visual depiction of the news at news.stamen.com, but found that the same meaning could not be conveyed through visual representation as it could be through print. Perhaps this is an obvious statement, but perhaps a necessary one. The visual representation is interesting, and it was interesting to see the lists of gainers, losers and top people but there lacked justification of these claims and as such the rankings seemed somewhat arbitrary. Regardless of the confusion, the idea was interesting and the site was fun to play with.

Of the two visual tools I was able to use, the Visual Thesaurus was my favourite and the visual representation of the news at news.stamen.com was my least favourite. Its too bad that you have to buy a membership to the visual thesaurus, otherwise i would use it all the time!

Katie Ablett

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

LAB - MARCH 8th, 2005


I liked the Visual Thesaurus the best.
Why? It goes beyond a typical thesaurus, say in Word, and gives you a wider explanation of the use of the other words. It would be quite handy when composing any kind of prose when you just can't think of the right word to use!

Mooter was my least favorite. Mostly because I couldn't retrieve any information on the first three web pages I tried. A tool's only useful if it's useful.


The Open Directory

The advantage here was that actual people are screening what goes into the Open Directory. If you do a search for something here, you're likely to find concise results. The problem, however, is that in its limited fashion, the site seems to be over-loaded quite easily. "Try Again Later" appeared when I did a search for the Semantic Web. Google, at least, has enough power behind it not to run into the same problems.

Beyond Search Engines

PART 2. Visual Tools for Web searching

During this lab we looked at new visualization tools that help us to navigate the web. Five tools were sampled. They were
TouchGraph Google Browser,
http://news.stamen.com, and
After trying them all out and examining some of their respective features, it is my opinion that the visual news at http://news.stamen.com is the most effective.

It provides representations of articles of a similar topic as little blocks proportionate to the size of story it was that day. For example, if one story or person has been surfacing in the news everyday of that week, then each day would have a block representing the story that day. When one of the blocks is clicked on, all the similar stories of that week are lined up above or below (depending on the date of the story you clicked on). It gives a visual representation of how big the story is and how often it is being talked about. There is also an option to read more about the story by clicking a link at the bottom of the page. Articles are colour coded and there is a list is provided of top names in the news as well as stories that are gaining momentum or losing interest. The only downside to this site is that it is only news related, but I think that this concept would work just as well with other categories.

The one site that I found to be the least productive was http://mooter.com. It was very slow to load and twice it froze on me. I may not have given it a fair change, but from what I saw, beyond it clustered organization on the first page, it only provides a list of results much like Google or Yahoo.

PART 3. Advantages and Disadvantages of the Open Directory

I think that the biggest advantage of searching with the Open Directory is the fact that it is human edited. Therefore a searcher is less likely to get irrelevant information and the results will be of better quality, especially for educational purposes. It is less likely to get a result that just mentions the search topic. Whereas in Google, many results (especially those that are quite general, or long phrases) contain only a brief mention of the subject. Although it does have an advanced search feature, it is not as functional as Google’s advanced features. Another disadvantage the Open Directory has compared to Google is its appearance. Google is plain and simple to navigate, and although they are similar in layout, the Open Directory has a busier appearance. However I do think that the Open Directory is a useful tool and I would definitely be inclined to use it over Google next time I am doing school related research.

Lab: March 8th, 2005; Beyond Search Engines

Beyond Search Engines

2. a) The new vizualization tool that I enjoyed the most was "Mooter Search". This search engine does an amazing job at categorizing all of the websites found while searching a topic. It creates a concept map which begins in the middle with "all results" and works its way out through different subcategories of the topic. When you click on an area of the concept map it provides a page with all of the resources listed. It also keeps a list of the subcategories on the left hand side of the page so you can easily transfer over to another subcategory. I found Mooter Search to be the simplist, yet most useful vizualization tool. It actually enables users to find what your looking for quickly and with ease. Many of the other tools force you to really look closely, are complicating, and at times even frustrating.

b) The new vizualization tool that I liked the least was "news.stamen.com". It provides a complicating collage of colourful squares, rectangles, and boxes that represent different stories in the news. This site is extremely confusing and I doubt many users would understand how to work it. When you click on a name in the media for example "Martha Stuart" a line of boxes are highlighted for the different days of the week and by looking at it you can see if she was in the paper a lot or a little. Unfortunately, I don't know too many indivduals who are curious about who's getting more or less publicity on a week to week basis. However, I'm sure some people find it somewhat useful. However, it doesn't seem to present data that can be compared easily. If you wanted to compare two individuals would you do so by the width of there regtangular representations? This site is frustrating, confusing, the data cannot be compared, and it seems to be quite useless.

3. The Open Directories Project has several advantages. It enables users to find more useful results to search queries than other automated search engines like Google. Unfortunatly, engines like Google can't keep up with the vast amount of submissions they get, so the quality of their directories is slowly diminishing. It is more up to date than Google because it is controlled and maintained by a global community. It also governs and organizes itself which is a great idea. When submitting a query the directory provides you with open categories likeweather, business, and news along with the topic you searched. It is fast, easy, and has been proven to be a very reliable way of searching. However, on the other hand there are some disadvantages to the Open Directories Project. Anyone is able to add to the directory and say that there site is valid. Another unattractive feature is the size of the system. It provides hundreds of sources when searching and many individuals dont want to skim through it all.

By: Ashley Burke

Beyond Search Engines

2. Visualization Tools

A) The visualization tool that I enjoyed using the most and that I feel would be most efficient and effective when conducting research etc would be Stamen (http://news.stamen.com). I enjoyed using this tool as it was the most concise and easy to use/understand out of all the tools. I liked the idea that once a person or news event was selected it allowed the user the option of opening another window to show the results. This allows the user the option of searching for other news topics while exploring the results on other stories. I also liked the option of selecting various people or stories and then selecting the one that pertains most to the users preferences. As well the interface was fun, orginal and engaging for the user.

B) The visualization that I liked the least was the TouchGraph Google Browser. The reasons that I enjoyed using this tool the least was that it was really "busy". As well, it was hard to follow and was very complex and confusing (for a somewhat amateur searcher like myself). When I would click on a section of the site I would find the graph shifting and moving but I am still unclear why this shift was occuring. This site was interesting as it showed the relationship between the various sections of the website and the way in which they intersect and function together to make the website function. Im sure that if I was given more time to read into this tool and work with it more then it would become much clearer and I can definitely see the possibilities that this tool could possibly provide.

3. The Open Directory

I enjoyed using the Open Directory Project means of searching the Web for information. I liked the fact that the Open Directory takes the time (with the work of its volunteers) to organize all the information into concise categories to which all the information on the web falls. Using the Open Directory not only allows the user to view the websites with which it returns but also the categories to which the information is organized. This helps the user to find exactly what they are looking for as well as providing them with an opportunity to explore related sites or categories. The disadvantages that I found with using the Open Directory is that everything is organized. Now this can (and is an advantage) but when using a Google search the information returned is more random then using the Open Directory and sometimes this can be more helpful for finding different sources and information pertaining to the same topic. All and all i throughly enjoyed using the Open Directory means of search and before today actually had no idea that it existed. I believe that using the Open Directory to search will provide much more consise, organized results.

Matt Walker

New Visualization Tools and The Open Directory

Katie Gordon

MIT 026b Lab
Tuesday March 8, 2005

New Visualization Tools

I found the best visualization tool out of the sites provided for us to be http://kartoo.com. I liked this the best because the design of it is very colourful, but not too overwhelming. It is also helpful because you can clearly see the many paths your search took and what key words and phrases are associated with it. It is very simple to see which step you would like to take next within your search because of the lines connected different key words associated with your search. There are not too many sites given to you at one time, so it is easier to sift through. Also, it is very easy to see which results have nothing to do with what you are looking for because of the key words listed underneath them. While using kartoo.com, it is easy also, for the user to find the best results and also becuase of the key words being used to describe the websites provided through the search. One of the best features of the tool is that although there are enough graphics to make it easy for you to search clearly and simply, and also to keep the interest of the user, these graphics do not become too overwhelming or distracting as some of the other sites.

I found the tool I liked the least while of the list provided was Touchgraph. I found this because, althought it gives a great deal of results, there are TOO MANY results. It becomes overwhelming to the user to have to try to sift through the 100 or more results that are provided. How the graph branches off can sometimes seem rather random, since eventually, results for www.w3c.org about websites and information and the internet can somehow turn into results about a safari. The graph itself is also overwhelming. I found myself getting caught up in the ability to move the graph around and the fact that there are so many results and branches coming off the graph. While the fact that you are able to display the summary of the website as well as the link to the website separately is helpful and keeps things organized, I found this tool to be too much of a good thing.

The Open Directory

The Open Directory was more beneficial than Google in the sense that when you first search, it gives you a great deal of results and then allows you to branch off into other directions with your search by selecting a certain category, such as something like what the term you've searched for has to do with social science. The results all seem very good and the best of the best and they seem to just keep on coming and it is very easy to find the subject category for what you are looking for, which is helpful because it also helps you to weed out the bad results by seeing that the categories do not match what you are looking for. However, the one disadvantage with the Open Directory, especially when compared to Google, is that because you can just keep selecting different categories and such, you get such a great amount of results, all of which seem to be important, that sometimes it can get to be a bit much. Users are never overwhelmed by results from Google and it seems friendlier. Also with Google, since it is automated and not truly controlled by humans, it is easy to see that it is updated A LOT and is reliable in the sense that it tends not to miss results. Though the disadvantage of this is that there are more useless results, which in turn is the main benefit to the Open Directory, that humans have been able to weed out the useless results. However, this in itself can be not so helpful in the sense that the people running it can miss results that may seem unimportant to them but are important to you. Though, one cannot deny the benefit of the directory being able to search through many search engines, not only Google.

March 8th Beyond Search Engines

I am enamored with the visual thesaurus!!! I am a student that considers the thesaurus as my best friend when writing essays and I absolutely consider this a very useful and more advanced tool than the primitive book thesaurus. It provides you with brief definitions of the synonyms provided as well as a few examples of when thuis synonym would be most suitable in the context fo the sentence. The visual thesaurus also provides similar words that maybe better than the original word that was searched as well as the antonym. I love love love this site and may even consider purchasing the visual thesaurus to assist me inthe future when writing the essays that seem to hound me.

I was not too impressed with the news.stamen.com. Too many comlicated graphics made the site seem too clustered and thus confusing. I am still a little confused as to how to go about using it. I therefore do not think that I liked it very much because when I go to a website I want it to be absolutely user- friendly and not a site in which you must take time out of your day to attempt to figure out....

Concerning the Open Directory:

I do not consider myself a fan of this.. I am too well aquainted with the google layout that I found the Open Directory a little non specific. Directory should be called Search, because really that is what you are trying to do when looking in the directory. The fact that it is human- organized leaves it open to human - related errors. I am sure that it will provide relevant information for a search but since goolge is has since based its own directory on the organizational structure of the open directory, I am content enough to stay a loyal and confident googler.

Visualization tools and open directories

Visualization Tools

I liked visual thesaurus the best simply because I can see myself using such a tool. Unlike the Microsoft word thesaurus relationships between words are shown. This helps in reducing errors wherein one word is substituted for another even though it is similar in meaning only in a different context.

I liked mooter.com the least because relative to the other sites, I think it lacks originality. It simply acts as a search engine with the results categorized in clusters. Relationships aren't presented as well as they are in TouchGraph and the site is relatively graphically uninteresting.

Open directories

Google defines its directory as the "The web organized by topic into categories." The various advantages and disadvantages of using such a directory are listed below.

Easy to find relevant sites if you know or can accurately guess which category they fall under.
Using the search tool presents a list of categories that involve the search query.
'Related categories' allow users to expand search.
Presents results with categories so it is not as overwhelming as conducting a search on the web i.e you know where the search results are coming from.

Time consuming. In a search engine you just type in the query and get a list of results.
Relatively fewer results are presented. Recall is hence comparatively low.
Web searches on a topic such as 'pets' presents ‘news results’ i.e. latest news on the topic. This is not presented in a directory.

And finally a random (or not so random?) thought:
“While categorization does have its merits, it is behavior that should lead to categorization, not categorization that leads to behavior. Too many people think that the label Dictates behavior; where it should instead merely Describe it.”

Beyond Search Engines

2. New Visualization tools: best and worst

Best: Mooter

Mooter was our favourite because it is was very easy to use. It divided your search into subcategories which could then be clicked on depending on which aspect of the search you were attempting to find more about. For example, if a person were to search for their favourite band, then Mooter would have subcategories such as "tickets, lyrics, tour, pictures, etc" to further determine which specific area the person was attempting to search. Mooter was very familiar because it was much like Google once you clicked on a certain subcategory within your search. Mooter was also very visually appealing because the main screen was very simple with only a search box in which to write the subject that you wish to search. The user was also able to change the colours of the font from red to blue depending on their preference. In all Mooter was very basic and simple to use, especially for a first time user. A definite new favourite!!

Worst: TouchGraph Google Browser

TouchGraph was an immediate worst on our list, based on the many instructions needed to be followed to complete a successful search. TouchGraph has coloured tags that appear when the different search results are double clicked. However these different colours, which mean different things only help to complicate the search. There are even further instructions on how to use this browser that would probably take more than 30 minutes to read... and chances are that you won’t even understand what they instructions are attempting to say!! Instead of typing in a keyword, the user is to type in a web URL, and by clicking on the "info" button the user gets a quick summary of the website. But once you decide that you want to visit this website... how do you get there?? By double clicking as most people would think to do, instead the many arms that branch out from the main word wiggles and moves around a lot and then goes back to the same way it looked before...without helping the user get any closer to the new website that they are hoping to view. The user can manually wiggle the different arms that branch out of the words too, by clicking and dragging them all over the screen... it can be fun, but is there a point to it? Nope! TouchGraph is definitely a browser meant for the computer-savvy, and would definately take a new user a long time to get the hang of it.

3. The Open Directory


Price: it’s completely free!! Who wouldn’t state that as an advantage- there’s not even the guilty conscious slogans asking for donations and it supports its statement that it will remain 100% free.
Community-based: whether you become an editor to contribute to Open Directory, or just use its services, everybody is getting involved. It promotes unity without discrimination. Size: the site explains how “other directories such as Yahoo! and LookSmart are developed and managed by small paid staffs. The ODP was founded on the premise that directories with small staffs can not scale to the growth of the Web, and still maintain a quality, current directory.”
Knowledge: whereas most search engines use spiders or crawlers, they are programmed to limited knowledge. With DMOZ, human knowledge is applied, not just artificial intelligence. Humans have the capabilities to understand subjects more extensively (i.e. differentiate between meanings).
Open Policy: the site makes their official guidelines and policies open for anyone to read


Recall: It is downright impossible to collect all the websites, therefore the user is only exposed to what the editor has collected. Hence, the searcher is not getting ‘the most’ of their search.
Human Error: …pretty self-explanatory. Incorporating human power into the equation is a smart and unique approach to the web, but human error is always present.
Content: DMOZ boasts that its directory “cull[s] out the bad and useless and keep[s] only the best content.” The problem here is what might be considered bad to an editor could be very useless information for the next person.
Control: The Open Directory emphasizes fairness and equality within the Web, and stands by its belief that “everyone is welcome to join the ODP. All you need is an interest or passion and a computer.” Though very welcoming, it can lead to a certain doubt in the level of professionalism and credibility.

Overall, DMOZ can be a very useful tool when searching the Internet, but it does have its disadvantages. The most efficient way to go about searching would to use both Google, and DMOZ for the best results possible.

By Shannon McDonald and Mardel Davis

The Open Directory

Certainly, describing the Open Directory as a "way of taming the Web" is an apt explanation of its function. The great advantage of the Open Directory is that it narrows one's search results to only websites that the majority of people would find useful and informative; saving time and effort to find quality information on a particular subject.

However, the disadvantage of the Open Directory, it could be argued, lies in the fact that it is edited by a community of global volunteers, meaning that the websites made available to the user are ones they found useful and therefore reflect their personal bias. For someone who is open to more resource tools (PowerPoint presentations, personal websites, etc.) in their researching, this could be too limiting a selection.

-Posted by ingrid Rosaeg

The Open Directory

Advantages of the Open Directory...

The Open Directory brings up thousands of results when you type in the query to the search box. When the results are displayed, there is also a list of topics related to the topic being searched. This makes it much easier to locate exactly what you are looking for. This list of related topics also makes it easier to find a wide range of information surrounding the topic being searched.

Disadvantages of the Open Directory...

The Open Directory does not give any options to advance or continue your search. You basically can only type in what you are looking for into the search box, and sort through the results. On the other hand, with Google there are many options that are available to the searcher to further the results. This could include narrowing the results, or broadening them. These options that Google provides makes it much easier to pinpoint articles that would be useful to the topic being searched.

Miranda Kasubeck, Sarah Mislan

March 8th Lab: Beyond Search Engines

Lab: Tuesday, March 8th 2005 BEYOND SEARCH ENGINES

The one I liked BEST was http://news.stamen.com because you can get every thing you need through it. It is like an electronic newspaper covering sports, politics, entertainment…etc. The site lists names that have been repeated in recent news the most but you can also search anything else you want. The names are linked to a Google News site showing all relevant headlines. This site is an easy way to keep up to date with what’s going on in the world.

The one I liked LEAST was http://mooter.com because it’s “clusters” seemed so unnecessary to me since the same links were being pulled up regardless of what area you clicked on. However, it did give ideas for related searches I suppose.

It took me so long to figure out how to search the Open Directory! And when I did pull up the search page it couldn’t process it due to its being “currently under a heavy load”. Google is much more user friendly and able to handle a large volume of individual searches happening simultaneously.


Open Directory

The advantages to the Open Directory are that you get less useless websites then you do with Google or Yahoo. A disadvange is that there may be good websites out there that are not on the directory and in that case you wouldn't have any way of knowing about them.

Lab Mars 8/2005

Visualization Tools:

I really like the graphic visual that Stamen provided. This feature helps surfers to save time searching for headlines. The color codes also allow quick reference about the popularity of certain event. The site offers funny ranking system for whom or what are the leading in making headline as well just to add a touch of humor.

Of the all tools mentioned my least favor The Visual Thesaurus, due to its overcomplicated interface. Although there are some very nice graphics, but it add up to the distraction that user can suffered from. The nodes are extremely sensitive, just slighly scroll over it and another branch of interest spring out, this can be quite annoying. The interface should be more robust and simpler, and that should help the user to shorten the search time and focus on their object. And also, it costs money which is not very appealing to pay around $30 for such software.

Comment on the Open Directory:

The most obvious advantage of the Open Directory is that is by users and for users. Even Google has utilized aspect of the Open Directory to augment its own search engine. This feature gives the Open Directory an organic aspect as it grows and evolves with the online population. The vast amount of information from the Internet is almost next to impossible to organize without a massive processing power and time. The Open Directory seeks to solve the problem by breaking the Internet into smaller manageable portion with the help of many users. The contents it provides are usually relevant since they have been filtered preliminarily by other people that share some common interest. However, this is at the same time acts as shortcoming of the Open Directory. The database is only limited to member of a certain group can be a hinder since it is excluding or simply could not reach all the useful sources that beyond the network of its users. This is where Google becomes quite handy due to its single massive database. Another worth noting feature of the Open Directory is the ability to choose from what databases the query will be pulled from.

By Trieu Le.

Open Directory

This is a great module for organizing web content. The immediate advantage that comes to mind is that all of the usual garbage that is returned by a regular search engine is eliminated leaving you with only good information. The disadvantage is the human factor. What is considered useful information to one person is not useful to another, so potentially valid info could possibly be omitted by the editors.

The Open Directory!!

Well hello again! Here's what I think are the advantages and disadvantages of Google's directory search vs. the normal Google search.

By searching via the Google directory, one is provided with a variety of websites to explore, each of which accompanied with a "category" list. This list, only inlcuded when one searches with the Google directory search, allows one to 'zoom out' from his/her search for a moment, and see which categories are stored in Google's directory which broadly include the original search topic. This is great because it allows one to start off as specific as he/she would like, and then is enabled to gradually get broader throughout the remainder of the search with the help of the Google directory's category display.

Well, for starters, there aren't many. In fact, I'm not sure why one would even bother to choose the normal Google search over the Google directory search when both provide the exact same results, only the Google directory search is accompanied with a category display under each possible link relating to the search topic. One disadvantage I can see with the Google directory search vs. the Google search is that the directory's responses to a search topic may be too broad for what the researcher would like. Since the categories are quite general, so are the links which are displayed after a search topic request has been made (unlike Google which provides much more specific links more accurate to the initial search topic).

Well, that's all I got for now folks! Adios!
John Vernon

Comparing the Open Directory to using the Google Search Engine

hey people, just here to share my thought on the Open Directory an Google.

I find that there is virtually no difference between the two services as far as information retrieval goes as the same sites that I recieved from my query in google were the same as my results in the Open Directory. The order was diffrent but in essence the content was the same. The order of the sites in my retrieval are a key element in the difference between the two applications and can affect the type of info that we receive. Google utilizes bots and spiders to find its information and as a result is succeptible to link rot if the bots do not search often enough and the site may become outdated or irrelevant. The Open Directory on the other hand is is maintained by people and as a result can be scrutinized in a way that we would ourselves search for information. This would eliminate part of the search process for the user making it easier for the user to procure relevant information.


The Open Directory

One of the main advantages of the Open Directory compared to Google is that the Open Directory is created and maintained by actual people. These people are ones who are knowledgable about their topics and are, therefore, able to include sites that are useful to the person searching. Since Google uses keywords to electornically sort pages, it can not evaluate the content of the pages, nor make any guesses as to whether a particular page would be useful. Real people are needed to do this and this is what the Open Directory offers.

The biggest disadvantage of using the Open Directory in comparison to Google is that because people are sorting through the sites and making judgements about useful and nonuseful links, there is the possibility that useful sites may not be known by the person compiling the list, or that that person may not see the value in a site that another person would.

New Ways to Search

I've never tried any of these types of searches before, and they were actually really cool. I'm sure that they'd all be great for research. However, my least favourite was TouchGraph. What in the world are you supposed to make of this? It just looks like a bunch of company names and descriptions. It was very confusing, although it looked cool at first. As for my favourite, I would have to say mooter.com would come out on top. It was simple to use and gave access to a ton of other relevant searches through its use of clusters :) The other site, kartoo.com, was also good, but I think it would cater better towards personal use rather than student research - although it still looks like a great research tool. The Visual Thesaurus was definitely a close second for my favourite. A regular thesaurus is very limited, giving accessing to mere words which are similar. This however gives access to similar topics and really gets you thinking. The only reason I liked it less is because it ended with basic definitions rather than further access to sites.

The Open Directory also seems to be a great tool since it provides actual descriptions of websites. This makes it much faster to sift through irrelevant information compared to Google, since Google does not provide these helpful and educated descriptions. It also remains extremely user-friendly and also you to search in many different categories and age groups (ex. kids, teens, etc.)


March 8th Lab: Web Navigation & Open Directory

1. I liked Mooter the best because it gave me a the all the search results of the semantic web in the centre, as well as the search results broken into keywords all stemming from the middle. This made it the easiest to use and navigate.

I disliked the Touchgraph Google Browser the most because it was very hard to get what you wanted after you searched. It had a similar set up to Mooter with the concept in the middle and links and information stemming out but it was a lot harder to navigate than any of the other sites, all though it did look really cool.

2. The advantages I see in my search for the Semantic Web on the Open Directory is that the categories are laid out in a very simple way that makes searches very easy. Also being done by man it is way more precise than Google which just picks up keywords. The disadvantage, however, is that although it is more precise than Google, you just don’t get the sheer number of websites. I believe this to be credited to that it is people doing the upkeep and not a program.

By Jacob Cohen

lab 6- 2 and 3

I liked visualthesaurus.com the best because i often find myself stumped during an essay, trying to find a different way of saying something. With this site it becomes easy. Unlike the thesaurus in Word, for example, it not only brings back relative words, but even common sayings and it also gives an example of the word in a sentace so you know if it is the right word to use. As well, i really liked the visual effect of searching for a word, when the web contorts and adds useful words.

I liked mooter.com the least because i felt the other sites had more to offer, not so much because i was disappointed with the results it gave. It did give good and relevant results, but not as many a the other sites. As well, it wasn't very visually stimulating comparted to the others.

The advantages of searching with the open Directory, as compared with a normal Google search are clear. As opposed to a regular search, the directory search allows you to narrow your search to what you deem relevant before you even begin. It makes searching a lot easier and less time consuming because you dont have to look over a bunch of hits that are not relevant to your search. For instance, i used the games directory and i was able to find only sports games without even typing the word sports in. To me, this is a great advantage. The disadvantages of teh Open Directory were not so clear to me. However, upon looking at the results for "sports games" i realized that there was no way that those were the only sports games in the available. So i guess a disadvantage would be that, though it is very easy to narrow a search, the directory may not contain exactly what you are looking for. Where as in a regular search entering the name of a specific sports game would ensure that you found it eventually.

LAB: Tuesday March 8, 2005. Beyong Search Engines

Beyond Search Engines

2. a) Trying out the different visual tools that help us navigate the web in new and helpful ways, I found that http ://mooter.com was the tool that I liked best. Mooter.com had the most efficient lay out for visual navigation. It was very easy to use, after being connected to the site you are instantly brought to a blank interface where you are able to input any subject that you would like. Once I have selected a search, the semantic web, I was instantly shown a concept map that featured almost every possible aspect pertaining to the semantic web. There was also a link off to the right side called "next cluter" that presented me with another concept map still pertaining to the semantic web. The subjects on the concept map are clear and precise. When clicking on one, I was instantly brought to a variety of results from the cluster that related to the subject desired. The results that I was faced with were all connected to my desired topic. The lay out on the result page was easy to use and the results were useful.

b) After trying out all of the visual navigation tools, I found that I least desired to use the http://new.stamen.com navigation tool. The way that the page was set up was very confusing. I did not automatically know that entering a desired topic gave you a list of undesired topics as well. It was also very confusing and hard to understand the colour coding of the information from Gainers who are in the news frequently, to Losers who are not in the news as frequent. The search showed the dates of when the topic was in the news, but someone looking for information does not need to go through a colour coded frequencey stage, this is just a time comsuming useless tool. The tool also provided further information that took you to a google search page.This part of the search I found useful, and understood it easily. The fact that first logging onto the site is confusing and not straight forward turns me off from using the site because it was not as straight forward as it could be. First impressions are something that todays society values, and I do not believe that this site takes into consideration the fact that if there is another site like mooter.com that is easier to use but produces the same results, more people will use the easier navigation tool.

3. The Open Directory search is now the largest human edited directory of the World Wide Web. This new idea of having the site constructed and maintained by a global community is what makes the Open Directory search more effective and up to date than the Google Search Engine. With the Web growing at a rapid and uncontrollable pace, Search engines such as Google are unable to keep it self as up to date as possible turning up useful search quieries. The Open directory have the great idea of governing and oraganizing itself. This is also the downfall to the Open Directory. The fact the it is put together by a global community of volunteers shows gives a non-professional side to the Open Directory. Anyone is able to add to the directory and say that their site is valid, and even though this is true to any navigation tool, the Open directory seems more prone to gathering invalid and illigitimate sources. The size of the OPen directory is also something that is not very attractive to a searcher. When searching for a topic, hundreds of sources are shown, and no one wants to look through that many results. Although this site is supposed to keep the best content, who decides what the best content is? the global community who are everyday computers like me who are not credible sources. The Open Directory is a new way to search the web, and it is useful to many users.

By: Lisa Gray~*

Beyond Search Engines

I liked the tool Kartoo the best because it alowed you to choose a simple topic and narrow it down to what you specificly wanted without the trouble of using the terms that the search engine needed. There was little problem of not getting what you wanted and it provided a clear description before you selected the site you wanted to try. The engine giving you the terms it used was alot easier then you trying to determine what descriptors they used.

I liked the TouchGraph the least becuase although it showed how many websites linked together it did not provide you with any indication of what the site was like before you choose it. It also appeared that the search could get out of hand and drift into topics that you did not want information on.

New Visualization Tools

My fav visualization tool was the Touch Graph Google Browser because of the ease of use and wealth of info that was presented. Moving from your initial query to related topics is very easy too making this interface very user friendly.

My least favourite tool was Stamen because the visualization was difficult to navigate and the look was not very appealing. Someone unfamiliar with searching would have a lot of trouble using this feature.

The Open Directory

dmoz.org - The mission of open directories is to pool the huge wealth of information available from the general public to compile a database of immense proportions which contains viable data on every topic. Both the best part and problem of directories like this is that while a lot of people DO know a lot of information about certain topics and therefor can write something useful, but at the same time these people could be misinformed and therefor their entry is flawed. This downfall makes open directories really iffy sources for hard information since everything has to be looked at objectively due to possible human error.

-Brady Bothwell

Lab#7: Beyond Search Engines

Best Visual Search Engine:
TouchGraph Google Browser

The TouchGraph search engine provides the user with a visual display of links to a single site where distance is measured by popularity and not global location. Therefore, one is able to see not only the popularity of the site queried but also the popularity of site linked to it. The interface is solid and responsive with the least lag of any of the search engines relative to the GUI. TouchGraph also makes is easy to follow hyperlinks to there respective site for browsing. Overall a very user friendly site and a novel way to search the web using Google’s underlying infrastructure. Great site.

Worst Visual Search Engine:
The Visual Thesaurus

The Visual Thesaurus uses a similar method as TouchGraph to display the similarity of synonyms to words searched on the main site. The interface also provides an audio version of the word and associated synonyms. However, the major problem with this site is the fact that it required the user to pay after a single search is made and does not allow any further searches. This massive stumbling block prevents much ease of use and will most likely force the user to use a more traditional thesaurus web site.

“The Open Directory”

Using the Google Directory to query “The Semantic Web” I discovered that many of the results, though streamlined and somewhat more useful from the directory, were very similar, if not exactly the same to the results found from the main Google search engine. Though the directory is operated by volunteers and peer editors who edit and post sites of validity and filter out the inaccurate useless ones, Google’s basic architecture has a similar effect. Because Google’s architecture lists sites by popularity and linked status and because popular sites are usually the most valid and useful, then Google’s main search engine will provide very similar and useful links the open directory would provide as well. However, the open directory is slightly more useful to list sites of relevance by excluding sites dedicated to advertise. This is where Google falls short and requires a human influence, like the directory, to filter out sites that wish to only sell an idea and not communicate it.

Brought to you by:
Aaron Van Domelen

Visualization Tools on the Web

The Visualization Tool Which We Liked Least...

We thought that the TouchGraph Google Browser was the most difficult and confusing to use. Although it gave a good visual representation of topics and how they are related to one another, it presented alot of information in such a minimal amount of space. This made it hard to seperate one topic from another.

The Visualization Tool Which We Liked Best...

We like the site http://news.stamen.com the best because it basically gave us alot of information on people in the news. This site had the ability to show us how much content was written on a news article was from week to week. If an article did not have much written on it we could visually see that because the bigger the 'space' the more there was on an article, and the less the 'space' the less there was on an article so we could see which articles had more written on them and which didn't. By 'space' we mean how big the blocks were. We thought this was a very neat feature.

Sarah Mislan, Miranda Kasubeck

'Beyond Search Engines' Lab

The new visualization tool I liked the best was the tool provided by http://news.stamen.com;
it was an interesting and yet efficient way of researching people in the current news. The layout made it easy to use and it was thought provoking to visually witness what names are being covered the most in today's media.

The visualization tool I disliked the most was offered by http://kartoo.com mainly because I found the layout really disagreeing to the eye and for that reason, found it more complicated to use. The linking documents feature as an effort to connect the different websites has good intentions I find, but in the end leaves the user feeling disgruntled.

-Posted by ingrid Rosaeg

Lab: March 8, 2005

1. Visualization Tools

The tool I liked the best was the visual thesaurus ( I wish it had allowed more than one free trial). I think this tool would very useful for me, especially when I’m writing late at night and words are slow to appear in my brain. The tool I liked the least was kartoo, because I wasn’t very fond of its visual presentation. I entered w3c, and the results were not as easy to interpret as a couple of the other tools, including mooter and the touchgraph google browser. Not to mention the weird blob shape in the background distracting me from my efforts.

2. The Open Directory

The main advantage to searching in the Open Web directory is precisely that it has been compiled by humans. People are able to group things in ways that computers are not yet able to, for example regarding visual and audio information as discussed in the lecture.
The main disadvantage to this that I see is that things can be missed, and that new sites might especially be missed before the editors of the directories have a chance to review them. In this way, it would be possible to miss out on the most authoritative site on a given issue, if for example it happened to be very new. Otherwise, this tool seems to be very useful!

~Shannon McSheffrey

My Take on the Visual Web Tools

I found that I liked the Stamen web tool as the best of the applications I encounted because it was easy to use and look for information by date and broguht up a slew of websites so choose form which could give you many different perspectives that may not be present in a singole blog. While you have to do the research on a subject yourslef you can come to your own conclusions about using the info instead of simply hoping that the informatuion is correct.

I found that I liked the Kartoo application the least in that while it was easy to input info for a search I found that the info that was retrieved was presented in a very confusing manner and as a result hindered my efforts to fins information on the topic. Since there was no sort of Abstract and just a general name I had to go into each of the sites to see if it was relevant and this as a result reduced my searching effieciency.

Thats all that I have got to say about that really. Hope it helped a bit at least

MIT 026 Lab March 8th Assignment

Natalie Lovie
March 8th, 2005

MIT 026B Lab Assignment
Beyond Search Engines
The Best visualization tool, in my opinion, was:
The TouchGraph Google Browser
because it was not only visual appealing, but it also gave the most links for finding information related to the input topic. It allows users to actually have fun searching, which is nearly impossible with normal search engines. There were also various tools to help make the user's experience even easier.
The Worst visualization tool, in my opinion, was:
because of two main reasons. One reason is that you had to pay for this service, and truthfully it is just not worth the cost. Secondly, a visual representations of the words does not really offer a better understanding of the words.
The Open Directory versus Google:
The Open Directory is advanteous over Google because it shows the categories in which the results for "Semantic Web" were listed. Even if the user does not like the results generated, they can choose a category and produce results more specific the category selected. It is also just as easy to use as a normal Google search.
However, it is always beneficial to use both a normal Google search and a search within the Google directory because new sites or sites which were not included in the original collection of results under a specific topic may be left out. Therefore, these searching tools are most beneficial when utilized together.

Web visualization tools


I found that I liked the Visual Thesaurus the best. Though it was frustrating to be limited to a low number of searches, I thought that this was the best visualization tool. I liked the way that the Visual Thesaurus represented how words are related to each other, and gave a better idea of their exact meanings, which is one of the shortfallings of many thesaursuses. I liked the way it had the general visualization of touchgraph, but put it into a format that was both practical and easy to use. If this tool was available on the web without subscription, I would definately use it.


I didn't really like Stamen at all. I thought it was an interesting idea, but the way the information and the site was laid out was too confusing to be very useful. I didn't understand the purpose of the clickable blocks at the top, and I thought that the explanation on the main page didn't do very much to explain the concept. I also didn't really see how this information could be used for very many purposes, besides general interest.

New Visualization Tools and the Open Directory

Katie Gordon

MIT 026b Lab
Tuesday March 8, 2005
New Visualization Tools
I found the best visualization tool out of the sites provided for us to be http://kartoo.com. I liked this the best because the design of it is very colourful, but not too overwhelming. It is also helpful because you can clearly see the many paths your search took and what key words and phrases are associated with it. It is very simple to see which step you would like to take next within your search because of the lines connected different key words associated with your search. There are not too many sites given to you at one time, so it is easier to sift through. Also, it is very easy to see which results have nothing to do with what you are looking for because of the key words listed underneath them. While using kartoo.com, it is easy also, for the user to find the best results and also becuase of the key words being used to describe the websites provided through the search. One of the best features of the tool is that although there are enough graphics to make it easy for you to search clearly and simply, and also to keep the interest of the user, these graphics do not become too overwhelming or distracting as some of the other sites.
I found the tool I liked the least while of the list provided was Touchgraph. I found this because, althought it gives a great deal of results, there are TOO MANY results. It becomes overwhelming to the user to have to try to sift through the 100 or more results that are provided. How the graph branches off can sometimes seem rather random, since eventually, results for www.w3c.org about websites and information and the internet can somehow turn into results about a safari. The graph itself is also overwhelming. I found myself getting caught up in the ability to move the graph around and the fact that there are so many results and branches coming off the graph. While the fact that you are able to display the summary of the website as well as the link to the website separately is helpful and keeps things organized, I found this tool to be too much of a good thing.
The Open Directory
The Open Directory was more beneficial than Google in the sense that when you first search, it gives you a great deal of results and then allows you to branch off into other directions with your search by selecting a certain category, such as something like what the term you've searched for has to do with social science. The results all seem very good and the best of the best and they seem to just keep on coming and it is very easy to find the subject category for what you are looking for, which is helpful because it also helps you to weed out the bad results by seeing that the categories do not match what you are looking for. However, the one disadvantage with the Open Directory, especially when compared to Google, is that because you can just keep selecting different categories and such, you get such a great amount of results, all of which seem to be important, that sometimes it can get to be a bit much. Users are never overwhelmed by results from Google and it seems friendlier. Also with Google, since it is automated and not truly controlled by humans, it is easy to see that it is updated A LOT and is reliable in the sense that it tends not to miss results. Though the disadvantage of this is that there are more useless results, which in turn is the main benefit to the Open Directory, that humans have been able to weed out the useless results. However, this in itself can be not so helpful in the sense that the people running it can miss results that may seem unimportant to them but are important to you. Though, one cannot deny the benefit of the directory being able to search through many search engines, not only Google.

March 8 MIT026 Lab

Alison Noble

My favourite visual representation of the relationships between sites was TouchGraph Google Browser because it showed such a wide array of site that linked to the original and sprouted off into what those sites linked to. You could visit the sites that appeared connected to the main one guaranteeing that the topic is relevant to your needs. It provided more options and is visually stimulating. This site's one disadvantage is that a user must already know website that is helpful to their topic and hope that site is connected to other relevant sites.

My least favourite visualization tool was Mooter which didn't help me navigate the web, it offered limited choices which led to a list that could have easily been found using a normal search engine. Mooter was over-simplified, making me distrust its sparse results since I imagine the web to be more intricate. It's one advantage is that a broad topic could be searched to find similar results. This is helpful to a beginner who does not have a site acting as a point of origin.

The Open Directory:
When searching using the normal method with Google the results are displayed with a link to the site and a short description and title. If you are searching for a chocolate recipe but all the sites save one are about buying premade chocolate these are not helpful and you can't use the one useful site to produce more results.

When using Google Directory the main category that the results fall under and all the substructures that differ with each site are displayed. When searching for chocolate all are under food, but while others are food/shopping and one is food/baking you can click on the category you want to find more specific results, cutting the search time in half. This feature is particularity helpful if a person is doing a very specific search because the categories can be narrowed down.

March 8th, 2005 Beyond Search Engines

2a) The visualization tool which i thought was the best was http://kartoo.com. In my opinion it provided the easiest to use and most clear visualization icons. It uses a variety of different search engines to collect the data one is looking for. It was the least overwhelming search engine out of the four for me to use.
b) THe visualization tool i liked the least was the www.w3c.com. I found it to be extremely overwhelming. It took a long time to get to because you can only find it through google and the search choices were very abstract. the web page was clouded with different options which made the task more difficult.

3) Some advantages to the open directory search website are its good organization, the editorial contributions and the way the site is set up. The open directory search engine is designed to fit ones every needs, today, automated websites such as google etc. are comign up with useless information and sites that are not relative what so ever to your search. However, the open directory is designed to cut out the useless material leaving one with the important search results only. Open directory is also the only other search engine that is 100% free.


Open Directory..good..or bad?

Lab March 8th: Beyond Search Engines & The Open Directory

Beyond Search Engines

Using visualization tools, instead of text, while searching on the internet is a contrast from today's typical search engines. Imagining an ordinary search engine, such as google, represented by images instead of words is a concept that not many average web users would enjoy. But since I'm not the typical web surfer, websites such as stamen and visual thesaurus can be an enjoyable change from traditional internet researching. Their graphical interface proved to be very simple, especially for finding further information regarding the topic of my choice. On the other hand, the TouchGraph Google Browser was more of a hassle then I would have imagined. Although it provided links to similar websites, its layout can prove confusing, especially when a search returns hundreds of hits.

The Open Directory

The Open Directory, is "the largest, most comprehensive human-edited directory of the Web. It is constructed and maintained by a vast, community of volunteer editors.", therefore it is not constructed by employees, but rather web enthusiasts. The primary difference between the Open Directory and Google is that one is a directory, providing a list of direct links (with a brief summarization of the sites content), and the other is a search engine. The Open Directory seems to be constructed around the knowledge of the individuals who volunteer their time, whereas Google is pieced together by a staff of their employees. An advantage of the Open Directory system is that it combines the knowledge of hundreds of search engines (altavista, google, yahoo, hotbot, etc...) , as well as the fact that it categorizes results based on topics. A disadvantage of the Open Directory could be that individual editors have the ability to abuse their priveleges.

March 8: LAB

a. The visualization tool I liked to use best is The Visual Thesaurus. It offers the users detailed visual displays. With the ability to look at the relationhip and meanings between words of the English language through a visual web, users have a better understanding of this connection. - The layout of this tool is great because the user can see many connections and relationships between words displayed at the same time.
b. The tool i liked least was TouchGraph Google Browser. It was difficult to find the program on its own, let alone using the tool. I did not like the layout of the program either because I felt it was too confusing and for first time users it should have the option of simplicity and also and also an advanced tool for others.
3. The Open Directory:
Some advantages of this search tool is the organization and options. Users are able to use advanced searching when finding specific results. Once a search is done it first shows the Categories the topic is under and then underneath it has a list of websites. Having the ability of using either one of these options is a helpful idea for users.


Lab March 8, 2005 Lesley Deugo

My Favorite: The visualization tools that I liked the best actually came up in a tie. Mooter.com is a favorite because it provides subcatergories for the searches performed which allows the searcher to select the specific information that they are looking for, and they don't have to search through endless pages of things they don't want. My second favorite was the Visualthesaurus.com. Thesaurus' are one of my favorite tools, and this site provided a clear representation of how words are connected, and what context that they can be used in.

My Least Favorite: Kartoo.com is my least favorite for one major reason. It was confusing. I was unsure how to use the tool, and it was difficult to understand how the information was sorted. It took me more time to figure it out then I would have normally spent searching. News.stamen.com was equally confusing, and although not very informative, it escaped last place because it was fun.

Searching the Open Directory:
Advantages: As stated in the explanation of the directory, this search tool is able to seperate valuable information and discard the useless information that is not related to the search. In the open directory, searchers are able to select information that is directly related to what they are looking for based on the pre-determined groups of information that have been created by other web citizens. This prevents searchers from having to sort through pages of results in order to find what they were actually searching for.

Disadvantages: On Google the search is not catergorized by web citizens. Every site that contains the words "Semantic Web" will be displayed whether it is related to the Internet, or Health matters. However, because the Open Directory eliminates certain sites, the disadvantage of this is that those sites may have been useful to the searcher. Google will display these apparantly useless sites that may actually be useful to someone, compared to the Open Directory eliminating what it finds irrelevant, despite what others may think.

By: Lesley Deugo

Beyond Search Engines

2. Visualization Tools

a) The visualization tool that I liked the best was Mooter. I thought it was the best because of how it organized the results in a simple way that was easy to use. Some of the other tools became a confusing mess, but this one was nice and simple. I also liked how it broke down the results into subsections, but still allowed me to see all the results as well. I found that to be very useful. The simplicity of Mooter was definitely its most important aspect for me, however.

b) The visualization tool that I liked the least was Stamen. This tool just seemed to be far more confusing than it needed to be. It does contain a great deal of information, but the different colour-coded squares with others flashing all over the place when the same topic is listed for different days was just far too confusing. I think it could have been much simpler and much clearer than it is.

3. The Open Directory

I really liked the Open Directory concept. I think it is very useful how the vast arrays of subjects are organized into manageable topics and subtopics. I think a major advantage of this would be towards the beginning of a search, when you aren’t really sure about how to look for a certain subject and other terms it may be under. You could just click on the different categories and it may provide you with ideas of how to conduct your search. It is also useful to “weed out” irrelevant results. If you’re looking for something on the “Semantic Web”, you could look in only the “Internet” section, for example, and then you can be sure you won’t get any results about “spider webs”, for example. I really can’t see any disadvantages. I really can’t see any disadvantages to this particular type of search because you are also able to perform the broader search if you wish, the Open Directory just helps with the organization a bit more than the Google search engine does.

By: Ryan Broll

Beyond Search Engines


BEST - http://.mooter.com

This website was by far the best tool as it provided a simple search structure that allowed you to select specifically what search you are looking for and to help filter out any unwanted and unrelated hits before your search for links has even been returned. It relates those hits that are most closely linked to your search in 'clusters' and lets you pick an individual result or view all of the results on one page. Stamen appeared to have a similar setup as Mooter however, there were only so many searches you could to due to the trial.

WORST - Touch Graph Google Browser

This tool was the most complicated to use and made searching for other websites and resources somewhat difficult. Basically, this tool just mapped out the other websites that were linked to the one that is searched. It really didn't seem to serve much purpose other than helping to locate a site that exists through another site, but it does this in a clustered and confusing manner through its spiderweb navigation map.


Searching the Open Directory allows you to search sites that are specific to the topic you are researching. Only links that are arranged into the directory under certain headings or links that contain your search in the title will be returned. This tool acts as a filter to ensure that the hits being returned are somewhat related to your search and other related links can easily be found as they all exist under the same heading in the directory. A disadvantage of this is that it does hinder the number of results returned because it will only return hits containing the keyword in the title or in that speicfic directory and not results that contain the keyword anywhere in the article. The directory ultimately allows a user to find links related to their topic much quicker without filtering, but with a much more limited number of results.


Hey hey, fellow MIT026ers! Welcome to the best/worst awards ceremony. Some sites are good, some sites are bad, and after some serious thought and research... here's what happened!

"And the award for the best site goes to... MOOTER!! Congratulations."
This website is, in my opinion, undoubtedly the best for the following reasons:
1) The site easy easy to navigate through.
2) The site has the search/visual appearance simplicity of Google.
3) The site provides efficient and precise results.
4) The site effectively divides the search topic into easily recognizable categories.

"And the worst site award goes to... TOUCH GRAPH!! Better luck next year."
This website is garbage, in my opinion, for the following reasons:
1) The site is too visualy complex for my liking.
2) Although one can play around with the background colour, the screen is confusing as heck otherwise.
3) The site is difficult to navigate through to find good, efficient links relating to the search topic.

Thank you for attending the best/worst awards ceremony. Join us again next year.

Adios for now!
John Vernon

The best and worst new visualizations

After using all of the different searches, I noticed that i prefered to use the visual thesaurus. I thought that this was the most useful site out of all of them because it supplied me with many different words, letting you know which words branch from which words, as well as which words would be best or worst to use. Also, the presentation is very interesting. Although it is very similar to the display of the other sites, visual thesuarus is very understandable and easy to use, unlike Stamen. When i first visited Stamen i actually liked the site. I thought that the presentation was very interesting and was done very professionally, but I didn't quite understand what all of those boxes at the top of the page represented. They were all jumbled together, seeming to have no correlation to eachother, except the fact that they were talked about on the same day.

When comparing the open directory with the Google search engine i didn't really find too much of a difference. I noticed that the search engine pulled up a different page order then the open directory, but they still appeared to be very similar. They just appeared to be in different orders.

~Mike Fulton

LAB #7 : Beyond Search Engines by Michelle Moses

Beyond Search Engines
#2 Visualization Tools
I liked using KartOO (http://kartoo.com). I loved how they layed out their searches. They have several different options at the side that might relate to the topic that you may have searched for (or relatively in the same field of the topic). With a simple click of the button you would have several different options to choose from, and know how each of the link together. I liked using it and I enjoyed it. It wasnt as boring as mooter and not as complex as Touchgraph.
I least liked using the TouchGraph Google Browser.(http://www.touchgraph.com) Although it is very cool to look at, it becomes confusing after a while. It's graphics are amazing and how they link the topics together seem to be precise, but it isnt understandable!! I got frustrated after a while of atleast trying to see how it works, and i gave up and realised that this touchgraph thing isnt for me. Very cool way to lay things out though.
#3 The Open Directory
According to the information on the website (http://domz.org/about.html) that stated how The Open Directory was more beneficial to users of the World Wide Web, search engines were becoming less and less accurate with their searches, "link rot is setting in and the can't keep up with the growth of the internet". How true is this? The advantages of using The Open Directory is that it is a human-edited directory of the web, that is updated regularly, because the information is continuously updated it gives for more accurate and precise search results. While doing a search on The Semantic Web the results resembled that of a Google search, but the return was much less than if I were to do a Google Search 364 as compared to 3,680,000 to be exact. This is an advantage to the user, as it is quite inconvenient to have to sift through such a large number of sites to find the most accurate one.
On the other hand however, this shows to that a disadvantage of The Open Directory is that the results of any search would be very limited. Another disadvantage is that anyone could become and editor and put their websites on The Open Directory and have pages that aren't valid and accurate to the searches. Another problem i encountered is that inbetween a search i was told that the system was heavily loaded at the moment, never happens with google.
BY: Michelle Moses

Visual Web Navigation

Liked Best:
Stamen - I thoroughly enjoyed the interface on this website, everything seems to move really fluidly, and I found myself reading all sorts of articles i usually wouldnt since it acts kind of like a quick referance for basic news, which seems to be all this is good for, but I really like the interface and i could see it working if it was, say cross-referanced with subjects on each sliding bar to act as some kind of an internet card catalogue which seems more interactive than just clicking links

Liked Least:
Mooter - I didn't really like the interface on this website it just felt like a really strained attempt to pull off what other "web" based (meaning web in a visual sense) visual internet interpreters do really well, it just seemed like its "web" was just a pretty interface for subject keywords to refine the search, which is done much better by the touchgraph. Mooter just didn't really impress me.

-Brady Bothwell

favourite search tool

In all honesty I had no idea that so many nifty tools existed on the internet. My favourites were Stamen which was visualization of people and events in the news, and the Visual Thesaurus. Stamen is perhaps my favourite by default, as one needs to subscribe to the Visual Thesaurus. In Stamen one is able to look up an individual or event and they are linked to a list of webpages, in addition is the Top Gaines, Losers, and Top Names which allows you to just surf through the page if you are not sure what you a looking for in particular. In addition is the nifty little boxes of assoiation on the top of the screen which allows you to select your colour key to indicate who is winning and losing and then slide along the little boxes to select your event or individual. The website which I liked least, was the Touch Graph Google Browser. I am not sure why but the image, the associations and links just didn't work for me.

Tuesday, March 8 Lab

Tuesday, March 8 Lab

  1. Out of all the sites, I preferred the first one, Mooter. I preferred this one as it seemed the easiest to search for information. It was simple when you first entered the site, and presented a ‘spider-diagram’ design where you could choose the best search names that would provide you with the most results. Sometimes the Mooter would even provide better search names then I would come up with. For example, instead of just searching for semantic web, it provided other names and categories, such as just ‘semantic’, which interested me because I wanted to see what different search results it could provide. Basically it is simply designed and provides a diagram of themes where the user can click on.

  1. I least liked the Stamen site, because I found it very complicated to use. When I first entered the site, I was very confused as to how to search for information on the site. There were too many names, and dates and the visually colored chart at the background that moved around really confused me. However, I am aware that once I start using the site and really understand how to use it, it would become a more preferable site that I would probably use to search more.

3. The Open directory has a few more advantages then the Google site. For one thing, it pre-groups it into categories, e.g. the Semantic Web. This allows clearer organization for others to choose which specific categories would suit what they’re searching for the most. It also powers the core directory services for the Web's largest and most popular search engines, comprising of Netscape Search, AOL Search, Google, Lycos, HotBot, DirectHit, and others. However, because it is pre-grouped and the most relevant sites appear first, sometimes it may eliminate sites that they may find relevant, even though it may be extremely relevant to the user. Another advantage is that people may become editors themselves on the Open Directory, allowing more freedom of speech and less limited content. However, one disadvantage is probably that you cannot directly search images like you can on google.

Abby Lai

March 8 - 1pm Lab

The visualization tool that we liked best was Mooter because it was direct and very easy to use. We simply had to type in a subject of interest in the search box and clicked Search. For instance, we typed in "Semantic Web" and a web of results came up. The results that branched off the center were Internet, resource, language, semantic web, university, conference, and semantic. The site would be useful for beginners because it is a straightforward method of searching and the results are not overly complicated. One drawback, however, is that it does not clearly illustrate the relationships that they share with each other.

The visualization tool that we liked least was the Touch Graph Google Browser. For one thing, it was difficult to get to the search engine. We had to go through Google and then type in another URL after that. Secondly, once we reached the desired destination, the web of results was extremely overwhelming. There was a lot of information stuffed into one page and the writing was small and jumbled and it just made it difficult to use. Perhaps, it is just not for a beginner. One plus, however, is that it makes a clear indication of how each topic is related to another and how they all connect. Visually, it makes it easy to see how they are related.

The open directory
The most obvious advantage of searching through the Open Directory compared to searching the Google search engine is the refined, and consise results. For example, the results that appear from the broad google search consisted of about 3,600,000. In comparison, the open directory provided an accurate and effective list of 5,460. The Open directory concept provides an organized portion of the web, while filtering out the useless, and time-consuming sites.

The central disadvantage of the open directory, compared to google search is the fact that, because searches are more narrow, you are not granted access to total recall, which may hinder your search results.

By Yvonne Ng, Shaira Vadasaria, Jennifer Latta, David Stratton

beyond search engines

Touchgraph Google Browser:
I found this graphing toll to be very interesting, mainly because I have seen nothing like it before. It made a diagram that shows all the websites that link to www.w3c.org/. This could be very helpful to someone who is looking for websites related to this website. It also tells how popular and credible it is, because the more a site is linked to, the more people tend to like the site. The only problem I found with the site was that it was really hard to read, because some of the titles would be overlapping and it hard to understand.

This is a new type of search engine I have never seen. I found it rather brilliant, because it takes the terms you searched, and gives categories to choose from within your search. This allows a person to find information on the subject they are specifically looking to find, not just everything. Although there is a option to search for everything the engine can find within your search.

This search is also new to me. I found it rather interesting. It along with the search engine above gives categories to search in or related to your search. It is displayed as pictures, and few words. Also it shows which pages are linked to each other. It gives the feature webpage, which is the best of the bunch. Also it show you sites that have the same pages within their site. So if I was research a TV show, and a popular page on the site was 'episodes' than it will connect all sites that have an episodes page.

This website is very neat. It displayed the days of the last week, along with many different color blocks. If i run your mouse over a block, it will display who is in the news, and will display all other articles they were in within the last week. It also has three categories of recent news. The categories are top names, gainers, and losers. You can also search another name in the news, and the engine will reproduce all news about that person. This was a cool site, but definitely not one of my favorites.

This website is also very neat, and helpful when writing papers. the user searches a word, and the sites gives a diagram linking to other synonyms. When you put your mouse over a word, it will give you the definition. The only problem with this site is that you have to purchase it.

Overall the site i likes the least was the first one, Touchgraph Google Browser. It was very neat and visually appealing, but I didn't find it very particular or useful. Out of the rest of the sites my favorites were katroo and mooter. They were both rather similar, but allows a person more variety and precision in searches. I would highly recommend using either kartoo or mooter

Open directory project is much more organized than Google. Every website is categorized and stored in directories. One advantage is that you can do a key word search, or you can search for something within a subheading such as entertainment or education. Another advantage is that when you found a website that interests you, the user can check under its directory and find more related sites. The only major disadvantage of using this is that it can only search the sites in its directory. So there will be some sites out there not it the directory, along with some websites that may have been miss categorized.

beyond search ngines

Search Engines Are Not Good Enough For Me, anymore.

2. With the rise of new visualizatoin tools on the internet, it has resulted in easier navigation of the Web. After using and trying five tools, I will point out the best and the worst.

A. The Best:
Stamen. A extremly astheticly pleasing site, which innovativly allows the viewer to keep track of individuals and events which are in the news. Easy to use, fun and informative, the perfect mix for a good information retrival site.

B. The Worst:
Kartoo. Color? Yes. Little animated character? Yes. Cool graphics? Yes. Scattered infomation making weak links to more random information that does not get the searcher an worthwhile results? YES!

Honourable Mention:
TouchGraph. The links and animation is just interesting to use, but not that effective.

3. The Open Directory:

The main difference between the Open Directory compared to Google normally is that the information is categorized into categories, thus making the engine that much easier for the user to find realted subjects, understand where his/her sourcs lies in relation to the mass of information on the web, and in a time where there is so much information avaibale the Open Web makes searching just that little bit eaiser and more concise, but would i recomend it for daily use of a search engine, No. The extra help is actually not needed to that extent.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005


MIT 026b Lab Tuesday March 1st, 2005
Locating Images, movies or sound files

Part 1

The following images, audio and visual files were found to be appropriate for someone interested in Current Web Culture;

Title: Wired News: Interview with Tim Berner-Lee
Resource: Google

This website contains an audio/video interview with Tim Berners- Lee. It is in both MP3 and Quicktime format. The website gives several different audio/video options to choose from, where Tim Berners-Lee is interviewed. It includes such interviews as His outlook on the World wide web as well as the importance of open standards. I think it would be very useful and efficient because Berners-Lee is the inventor/creator and as such the information is useful and viable.

Title: Christopher Lydon Interview with Dave Weinberger "The Bubble Never Popped"
Resource: Google

This particular interview done by Christopher Lydon has three different audioparts that have different time limits. The interview speaks alot about Berners-Lee and his experience with blogging and the World wide web. I think it is an efficient and well documented interview that would provide its users with useful and correct information.

Title: Semantic Web, Phase 2: Developments and Deployment by Eric Miller
Resource: Google
URL: http://www.w3.org/2004/Talks/0520-em-swa/

This link provides a Powerpoint slide show on The Semantic Web by Eric Miller. The user has the option to view the topics in different formatts. Eric Miller explores many different aspects of the Semantic Web, he has overviews as well as different objectives with regards to the topic.

Part 2:

The following websites are useful for someone who is searching for The cultural impact of the world wide web:

Title:The Art of in the Internet: The impact of the World Wide Web on Global Culture
Author: Niranjan Rajah (Universiti Malaysia Sarawak Malaysia)
Resource: Google

This article is useful as it looks at postmodern culture and how it is rapidly becoming a part of the everyday sensibilites of the world wide web. I think this would be useful instudying the cultural impact of the world wide web, because it gives a goodexplanation of different cultures and how it has affected the internet and itsusers. It also takes a look into the Asian and Malaysian impact on the WorldWide Web.

The following was found to be useful when searching for The Political Impact of the World Wide Web:

Title: [Liberal Times] Political Impact of the Internet (1)
Author: Ronald Meinardus
Resource: Google
URL: http://times.hankooki.com/lpage/opinion/200303/kt2003032717165211360.htm

This website looks at the Political aspect of the advancement of the world wide web. It is excellent in expressing its concern of the development, and Meinardus uses this aspect of political concern in South Korea to nicely formulate his view on the topic. The link also contains information ranging from earliest days of development, which is a key aspect in research Political Impact of the Web.

The following was found to be useful when searching for The Future of the World Wide Web:

Title: The World Wide Web: Past, Present and Future
Resource: Google

This website is very useful, it is by Tim Berners-Lee and gives a good explanation of all the stages of development of the World Wide Web. he provides images which go along with the explanation, making it easier for the reader to understand the concepts he attempts to impart.

By: Michelle Moses