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

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