Actually, I wouldn't know.
I don't devote enough time to keeping an eye on indexes.
That means that it's hard for me to judge whether they're still growing, whether
they're weeding out defunct sites, whether they're organized in a usable fashion,
and more. In Israel, except for a couple of educational indexes, they're hardly
anything worthy of the name. The major Israeli portals still devote part of their
entrance pages to what might be called the classic index view (like what Yahoo!
had on its main page years ago), but if you're looking for anything other than
tourism, electronics, or sex, they don't seem to have much available.
Yahoo! does still have an index, though only
a very small part of it is visible on its entrance page. One nice feature of this
index is a daily list of added sites. There are days when only a handful are added,
but on others even more than a few hundred get included. Often, it seems that
this is a result of a particular idea that a staff person has been asked to check
out. Perhaps a new movie on a historical figure has been released, and Yahoo!
will collect additional material on that figure. A large percentage of the new
additions are promotional or business oriented, but it's an index just the same.
The Open Directory Project boasts over four and
a half million sites listed (as of May 2005). It tells us that:
The Open Directory Project is the largest, most comprehensive human-edited directory of the Web. It is constructed and maintained by a vast, global community of volunteer editors.
Since Yahoo! doesn't tell us the number of sites it hold in its directory, it's
hard to tell whether this claim is true or not. It doesn't feature a list
of new additions, and it's hard to determine just how dynamic the index actually
is. Neither seem to post statistics on the use of their indexes - whether or not
people actually turn to it to find information. My educated guess is that few
The Open Directory Project lists a category of directories
that contains about 1300 items, but instead of convincing us that indexes are
alive and kicking, the contents of this category seem to tell a very different
story. Over 90% of the items in that category relate to the ODP itself - almost
half list sites that access the information from the ODP. The others deal with
either Yahoo!, LookSmart, or About.com. Most
of those dealing with LookSmart bemoan the demise of what seemed to be a promising
directory. The About.com category lists only three items, and one of these is
a listing of about a third of the original About.com sites that were discontinued
in 2001 when that site underwent a marketing change. The original intent of that
site was to offer a platform for those former About.com editors to continue
their work, but that doesn't seem to have happened. Of course there's also the
Librarians' Index to the Internet - a wonderful site
(listed, along with about ten others in the "non-commericial"
section of the ODP directories category). But with only around 14,000 sites in
its catalog, this seems only to drive home the point - hand-picked indexes just
don't seem to be where it's at anymore.
Go to: The tyranny of search.