To continue our theme from last time: “For every minute spent in organizing, an hour is earned” (Unknown).
This quotation helps us remember the importance of developing online search techniques that will help you “save” time (or, at least allocate your time wisely!). Previously, we looked at keyword searching on the open web and in full-text search environments. Today, let’s consider another active search technique. This one takes advantage of online website directories.
There are a few free, quality, online directories. “Quality” and “free” are not mutually exclusive terms. Current and curated directories are useful for bringing in specific and targeted user traffic. Unlike a keyword search, directories allow the searcher to browse general subjects until he or she is ready to drill down to a very specific classification, category, or topic. Finding a “good” directory is not entirely subjective. Objectively, “good” directories are governed by the goal to offer only trustworthy and timely listings. The listings in a quality directory have been pre-evaluated, or vetted, by a human curator or editor.
It is necessary to think categorically when looking for taxonomy, thesaurus, or ontology resources. When it comes to “taxonomy management” or “thesaurus management,” you will want to first look at the top level terms and categories of the directory. In searches for taxonomy resources within a directory, the following pattern is observable at both http://www.dmoz.org/ and www.bestoftheweb.com.
At both of these directory locations, drill down by clicking the “reference” path. Underneath “reference”, look for “knowledge management.” Since taxonomies assist in “knowledge discovery” (as in navigation), the searcher might discover something of use there. Otherwise, “knowledge representation” or “knowledge retrieval” may be the searcher’s next tab(s) of choice. “Classification” is sometimes a useful subcategory to explore, also. Although “classification” may refer to a physical location (as in book item or number), it sometimes overlaps with the ordering of terms that describe concepts of information resources. For example, as you scroll down the 29 entries at http://www.dmoz.org/Reference/Libraries/Library_and_Information_Science/Technical_Services/Cataloguing/Classification/ you’ll notice some taxonomy entries near the bottom of the alphabetized list (see the red underlining in the screenshot below).
Interestingly, each directory has its own categories and may take a variety of approaches and strategies to hit your target (if the directory even contains your target!).
Another directory you might try is http://dir.yahoo.com/ But notice the different sequence and thought process in order to find your resource(s). Here is the search string, or permutation, in order to arrive at “Knowledge Management.”
Directory > Business and Economy > Business to Business > Management > Knowledge Management
Earlier on in the string, the searcher could have also detoured after Directory > Business and Economy > Business to Business > Information > and also found pertinent resources for information or knowledge. So, in this case, your primary directory top term was not reference but business and economy.
You might also consider some of the following directory resources; http://www.refdesk.com/toc.html. As you scroll down the page, look for “Refdesk Subject Categories” located in the final portion of the middle column.
The Internet public library offers both a search window and a subject directory. See http://www.ipl.org/div/subject/ or http://www.ipl.org/div/about/sitemap.html
The WWW Virtual Library can be found at http://vlib.org/. Click on Information and Libraries to yield the following categories of interest for knowledge and information management:
lts is http://www.e-journals.org/ A simple search of taxonomy management yielded 244 results. Try some variations like business taxonomy for additional results.
Another resource to try is http://www.exactseek.com/
The serendipity that results from browsing often yields better results than keyword searching. For example, notice the rich resources located at http://www.brint.com/km/
At the same site, you’ll find various portals down the rightmost column at http://www.brint.com/km/#definition
Toying slightly with different search term combinations will provide various results that are still within your desired search parameters. For example, try searching business taxonomy or project taxonomy or operative taxonomy. Other resources to explore include http://www.best-web-directories.com/free-directories.htm and http://www.controlledvocabulary.com/links.html.
[Although several paid directories exist, they are outside the scope of this blog.]
Next time we’ll consider some passive search strategies in order to find taxonomy, thesaurus, or ontology resources.
Eric Ziecker, Information Consultant