Browser Basics:
Web Directory

Title: Jan's Illustrated Computer Literacy 101
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A web directory groups the web pages it has found into major categories like Education, Sports, Family, Life, and Computers.  Subcategories divide up the pile in each category.  

Who decides what goes in which category? Directories may allow web authors to submit their sites to the category that the author thinks it goes in. Other directories have their own staff who surf the Web and include the sites that they find useful.

You can use a web directory two ways:

  • dig down through the category tree
  • search the categories

Where you are:
JegsWorks > Lessons > Web

Before you start...

Project 1: Browser Basics     ConnectingTo subtopics
    IE InterfaceTo subtopics
    NavigatingTo subtopics
    PrintingTo subtopics
    SavingTo subtopics 
    Searching To subtopics
    icon-footprintSearch engine
    icon-footprintWeb directory
    ExercisesTo subtopics

Project 2: HTML BasicsTo subtopics


Dig down through the category tree

The web directory's home page will show only the top level of categories at first.

To locate a page about a particular subject, you first select one of the top levels of general categories. A level of subcategories opens from which you pick again. You may need to work down through several levels but eventually you will be shown a list of short descriptions of the first 10 or 25 web sites that are assigned to the final category.

The advantage of a web directory is that the results list shows sites that are all about the same topic (the subcategory). The listings are for sites as a whole, rather than each individual page in a site. In a search engine results list the pages may be on a variety of topics as long as they contain the search words.

The disadvantage of a web directory is that it is sometimes difficult to figure out what general category you should start with and what subcategories to choose. For example, to find recipes using octopus, should you look in Health or Hobbies or Leisure or Travel? Unless Cooking is one of the categories, it is hard to know which one to start with to find a recipe. Different directory services use different categories, so the choices that worked in one may not work in another.

Search the categories

A directory service will normally let you search the categorized sites. The results list shows the category that each site listed came from. If you find a site that seems appropriate, you can then back up and view the whole category it was in. It's sounds a bit backwards, but it can work quite well.

Icon Step-by-Step 

Step-by-Step: Keyword Search

 Icon Step-by-Step

What you will learn:

to choose a category and subcategories
to search categories with keywords

Web Directory: Choose categories

You are interested in recipes for octopus and other seafoods. You decide that your search for recipes that use octopus can be expanded somewhat. You will try the categories in the web directory. In this simulation, only certain of the choices will actually do anything. You can't go wrong!

Start with: IE Open

  1. Return to the home page for Quick Search. (Hint: Click on the magnifying glass at the top of your last search page or from My Home page click on the Search the Web link.)
  2. Scroll down, if necessary, and click on the general category Hobbies.
    A column of subcategories opens to the right.
  3. Quick Search - categories selectedClick on the subcategory Cooking.
    Another column of subcategories opens to the right. (Sometimes the nesting of categories seems to go on forever! To be kind, I kept this set of categories short.)
  4. Click on the subcategory Seafood Recipes.

    Quick Search results- categoriesFinally, a list of results displays at the bottom of the page. All of these pages fit the category, so they all contain a recipe using seafood. But not all will use octopus in particular.

    Remember that a web directory lists only a few of the pages on the Web. The sites that appear in a category usually cover the topic as a whole. You would not likely find the individual pages inside a site in this list.

Web Directory: Keyword search

There may be thousands of different subcategories in a web directory. With so many choices, it can be hard to know where to look for the category that has the sites you want. You can search the web directory itself to find a site that might lead you to an appropriate category.

  1. Quick Search form - octopus - the categoriesScroll back up to the top of the home page for Quick Search.
  2. Select  the categories  in the Seach where? box.
  3. Type in the keyword text box the word  octopus .
  4. Click the Search button.

    A new page displays the categories that actually use the word and then lists the web pages in the web directory that contain the word octopus. In some search pages you might next find a list of pages from the Web which are not in the web directory. These would come from a partner search engine site.

    Quick Search results - octopus categories
  5. Scroll the page to see what the search found. Several categories contain pages that use the word octopus but only one category uses octopus in its own name. Notice that a page can appear in more than one category, as does the page The Dock.

    With this search you should get better results, but fewer of them than you got when you searched the whole Web. Finding a category that actually uses the word you are searching with is hitting the jackpot. You may be a big winner!

  6. Click on the red category Octopus at the top of the results.

    Quick Search results - the category OctopusA page appears that lists the items in this category. It is a short list. From the brief descriptions, it does not appear that these pages will have recipes. This category is about animals rather than food. Should have noticed that!

  7. Use the Back button to return to the page of results.
  8. Quick Search results - seafoodrecipesScroll the page, looking at the categories for the sites that used your search word.

    One category looks interesting. It seems to have recipes that use octopus. You would want to visit this category if you thought there might be other entries you could use. (This is the same category you found by expanding the list of categories.) Enough for now!