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 do.

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 Most of those dealing with LookSmart bemoan the demise of what seemed to be a promising directory. The category lists only three items, and one of these is a listing of about a third of the original 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 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.