JoeAnt Directory and Editor Guidelines

What is the difference between a Search Engine and a Directory?

The definition of the term search engine: "A program that searches documents for specified keywords and returns a list of the documents where the keywords were found." The term is often used to specifically describe systems like Google, Teoma and Inktomi. These search engines typically send out a spider to fetch as many documents as possible. Another program, called an indexer, then reads these documents and creates an index based on the words contained in each document. Each search engine uses a proprietary algorithm to create its indices such that, ideally, only meaningful results are returned for each query. (And we all know what that is like.)

In a directory this work is done by human editors. These editors check out the Web sites before they are listed and give them a description that is fitting for the site. Then these Web sites are placed into a hierarchical structure. This makes it easier for an end user to find related topics and they also have the option to place a query if they are looking for something specific and to the point.

So basically the difference between a directory and a search engine, as used in these terms, is that the first is human powered and the second is run by means of robots with very little human intervention. Our users expect relevant results with appropriate ratings and descriptions that let them determine whether or not they want to view the site.

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