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    About DMOZ
    Since 1998, DMOZ has been the largest, most comprehensive human-edited directory of the Web. Supported by AOL, it is constructed and maintained by a passionate, global community of volunteer editors.
    Mar 24th 2008 4:49PM
    It All Started With Animal Behavior
    Interested in becoming a DMOZ volunteer?

    Here is another great testimonial from one of our editors in the UK about how they joined and what they've accomplished since. If you have domain expertise, passion for a particular subject and happy to volunteer your time to help create the best directory for that subject...apply!

    We have more than 590,000 categories in 80 languages and still more than enough room to grow.

    Here is hiraeth's contribution to the DMOZ Blog. Another example to show the passion our volunteers have and how easy it is to join.

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    A year ago I had never even heard of the Open Directory Project. My introduction came about by chance because I happened to pick up a couple of books on computers from a box of free books at my local Oxfam shop. Broadband had just come to our area and I had decided to upgrade my computer and join the modern age. I had hardly used the internet previously, having just mucked around with digital photographs, emails and games.

    One of these books was the year 2000 edition of the Rough Guide to the Internet, and it helped me to get started. The other was even older and called HTML Publishing on the Internet. I had no idea what this meant but on inspection found there were some quite simple concepts involved with the objective being the creation of a website. I liked the idea and thought I would have a go. The Rough Guide pointed me to an on-line source to assist me and it did not prove too difficult to create a rudimentary site, and use the free webspace my internet service provider supplied.

    Proud of my achievement I invited all my family to have a look at the new site, but how was anyone else ever to know it was there? Back to the Rough Guide. An entry in a directory was what was required. Most of these charged for their services but I could try the Open Directory which was free. I had a look at this, tried to find a suitable category and submitted my site for inclusion.

    Meanwhile my notice had been caught by the statement at the bottom of most pages, "This category needs an editor". With my site finished I needed something to do, so I thought I would investigate becoming an editor. I read some instructions, found a category that interested me and three sites to submit and put in my application. I was promptly turned down, being politely told that the category was too big for a beginner, and two of my suggested sites were already in the directory.

    I had got quite keen by now, so when I had got over my initial disappointment I went back and had another look at the guidelines. This time I chose Animal Behavior (45) in the Science section. I searched for a few sutable sites not already listed, and dusted off my long forgotten qualifications which I had not even bothered to mention the first time round. And this time, success!

    My first sight of my dashboard was a bit intimidating, and the actual rudiments of editing took a little time to acquire. My first task was to add the sites I had submitted with my application to the category, and with some trepidation I did so. Now my dashboard showed Animal Behavior (48). Then I got out a book from the library on the subject and started putting suitable words and phrases into my search engine to find new sites. I found the only computer skills I needed were the ability to copy and paste. Meanwhile I had introduced myself on the science forum and been welcomed by other editors.

    One day I was surprised to find someone had submitted a new site to my category. There it was on my dashboard in green (1 new). I had a look at the site and decided it was not really about animal behavior at all, but about pets and their whimsical habits. What was I to do? Fortunately help was at hand in the forum, and a kind mentor explained the seemingly complex steps needed to first find a suitable category in the directory for it and then how to send it there. After a couple of days I plucked up courage and followed these instructions and off it went. Whether it got there I don't know but it was a relief to have said goodbye.

    By now I had got more used to the procedures involved in listing sites and found quite a few to add to my category. It was time to submit it for a quality check. The same mentor went through it with a toothcomb. I must use American spelling, must not use personal pronouns, and where was the charter? 'What is a charter ?' was my response to this and I learned it was a description of the kind of sites that would be found in the category. Creating a charter was another thing I could do from my dashboard, and after consultation, I did so.

    So that was how I started with the ODP. Soon I was applying to edit more categories and widen my experience, and ten months later I am quite addicted to editing and spend much of my spare time at the computer. Not much time to potter with my website any more, and my new grandson may wait indefinitely for his photograph to appear there. And, in case you are wondering, my site never did get listed in the ODP.


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