IRIS 42: Information and Research Instruction Suite for two-year colleges

Beyond Search Engines

Hand-Selected Subject Directories

As we've seen, the search engines use bots, or programs, to collect web sites for their databases. In contrast, search tools called Subject Directories use real people to read, select, and add web sites to databases.

As you can guess, subject directory databases aren't nearly as large as Google or Yahoo, so you won't get a billion hits, but you might get better hits. Notice I said might get: with web searches, results depend on your topic.

The following example shows searching for the phrase "election reform" in a popular subject directory, the Librarians' Internet Index ( Notice three things:

  1. There are only nine web sites (compared to 765,000 found using Google).
  2. A collection of icons provides more information about the site, more information about the person who reviewed the site (including contact information), and a form for sending your comments.
  3. A date indicates the last time this site was examined.

searching "election reform" in screenshot used with permission

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