BIO150Y Optimal Information Foraging  

Subject Directories

What a difference people make

What is a Directory?

Subject directory Many people jump straight into search engines and don’t make enough use of subject directories (aka Yahoo). These are great time savers because someone else has already done the work of finding and organizing high quality Web sites.

A Subject Directory is:

  • a collection of links which have been selected, evaluated, and organized by knowledgeable staff

  • also called a pre-selected list

Use a directory to:

  • find general research sites

  • view sites recommended by experts

  • find a few good sites rather than tons

Recommended subject directories

My Biology Library


There are two types of directories which differ in quality and selectivity:

1. Academic & professional

  • created and maintained by subject experts to support the needs of researchers & academics

  • contain carefully chosen and annotated lists of quality sites

2. Commercial portals

  • created for general public

  • lots of advertising, often in subtle ways

  • often do not disclose selection policies or credentials of selectors

  • e.g. Yahoo!


Ten Tips for Improving Your Internet Search (7KB PDF)
Print out this sheet and keep it handy when searching for Web sites.

What are the major differences between search engines and subject directories?

Let's look at how to evaluate our results...  Next

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