A subject directory is a catalog of sites collected and organized by humans. Subject directories are often called subject "trees" because they start with a few main categories and then branch out into subcategories, topics, and subtopics. To find the homepage for the Atlanta Braves at Yahoo!, for example, select "Recreation & Sports" at the top level, "Sports" at the next level, "Baseball" at the third level, "Major League Baseball" at the fourth level, "Teams" at the fifth level, then finally "Atlanta Braves."
Because humans organize the websites in subject directories, you can often find a good starting point if your topic is included. Directories are also useful for finding information on a topic when you don't have a precise idea of what you need. Many large directories include a keyword search option which usually eliminates the need to work through numerous levels of topics and subtopics.
Because directories cover only a small fraction of the pages available on the Web, they are most effective for finding general information on popular or scholarly subjects.
If you are looking for something specific, use a search engine.
Click the links below for practice exercises.
Yahoo! is the largest subject directory on the Internet and is an excellent site for finding topics that appeal to the general public.
If you can't find it at Yahoo!, try Looksmart - another great directory for locating popular sites.
The Argus Clearinghouse reviews and rates top websites in a variety of academic areas.
At About.com, you'll find a directory with a twist. Each topic area has an assigned "Guide" responsible for writing articles and organizing links on the topic.
Click on these links to review the websites without frames or instructions. Use your browser's Back button to return to the tutorial.
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