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Open Directory

Review of Open Directory
by Greg R. Notess


The Open Directory Project, formerly known as NewHoo and also as DMoz, is owned by Netscape but is run by volunteer editors. Use the table of contents on the left to navigate this review.

Databases: The Open Directory as seen at is only the one database. Partners using the Open Directory include AltaVista, Netscape, Lycos, HotBot, and others often have many other databases.

  * One of the larger directory databases
  * Newer than Yahoo! and seems to have fewer dead links
  * Run by a large group of volunteer editors

  * Quality is inconsistent
  * Some sections still need to be further developed

Default Operation: Multiple search terms are processed as an AND operation by default, but if no hits are found, Dmoz then tries an OR.

Boolean Searching: The Open Directory supports Boolean searching with the operators AND, OR, and ANDNOT. Operators can be in lower or upper case. However, searching cannot be nested using parentheses. The Open Directory can also use the + to require a term and a - to exclude hits with that term.

Proximity Searching: No phrase or proximity searching is available.

Truncation: Truncation is available with the * symbol. It can be end truncation only, not internal. It must be preceded by at least two characters.

Case Sensitivity: Open Directory has no case sensitive searching. Using either lower or upper case results in the same hits.

Field Searching: No field searching is currently supported.

Limits: No limits are available.

Stop Words: No stop words

Sorting: Categories are presented first if they match or sometimes if they contain records that match. Then sites are listed, presumably in order by some relevance score, but the method is not described.

Display: Open Directory first displays up to five categories. Then sites are displayed with their title hyperlinked to the URL, a brief description, the URL, a linked connection to the category in which the site is listed, and a number in parentheses.

Selection Criteria: Entries are all selected by the editorial team of over 30,800 editors. Many entries also come from submissions.

Size of Open Directory : Open Directory has over 2,152,000 unique entries divided into over 314,000 categories and subcategories. See the bottom of their opening page for a current count.

Ratings: Open Directory will star some sites and these are listed at the top of the category listing.

Search Guide
About the Open Directory Project (includes Press Releases)