Section 5 Web Myths > URLs > Search Engines > Special Directories > Exercise > Precision Searching Strategies > Exercise


Search Engines vs. Directories

Use Search Engines if you are looking for very specific information or information on a narrow topic

Advantages of Search Engines

Users search by keyword or a combination of keywords, permitting more precise searching than in a directory

Search engine databases are much larger than directory databases, so searches produce many more results

Disadvantages of Search Engines

Sites are not evaluated or rated in any way

Since search engine databases are created by software, material varies greatly with respect to quality, currency, and type of content.

Because search engine databases are so large and results lists are created by software, users can get many false hits (irrelevant results)

Use Subject Directories if you are researching a broad topic and want to see what is available as you break it down.

Advantages of Directories

They allow users to drill down to the narrowest subtopics of a broad topic, so they are useful for getting a sense of the dimensions of a topic and for narrowing it

They are good for finding many sites on a topic in one place.

Disadvantages of Directories

Searching them will produce fewer results.

They are only as good as the people who assemble them. For example, directories often have dead links because the Web sites on them that have moved or been removed from the Web are not removed from the directory.








© Reeves Library, Moravian College and Moravian Theological Seminary greyhound image © Morgan Conn, used with permission. Site designed by Ashley Garrett and Dorothy Glew.