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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.
    Jan 29th 2010 5:31PM
    Hi Everyone,

    This week, we have a very special guest blogger! Bob Keating, our editor-in-chief, has prepared some personal thoughts and insights on the directory's next decade. Enjoy!


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    The other night I was watching an old episode of the TV show "Six Feet Under," in which the character Ruth is coaxed by a friend to attend a self-help seminar called, "The Plan." The Plan uses the house as a metaphor for examining and re-building one's life. When Ruth tells her family about "The Plan," she learns it is not as new to her as it is to others. Her children believe it to be a cult, but show little concern of their mother's interests. Ruth's free-spirited sister said she went through The Plan in the 1970s when it was called something else, and then commented how Ruth's kitchen is exactly the same as it was back then. Ruth realized just how much rebuilding she had to do. She was terminally unhip and out of touch with the world around her.

    As I was watching others respond to Ruth's involvement with The Plan, I began to think about DMOZ. Over a decade ago, DMOZ was a new and intriguing idea of getting the web to organize itself by having web users build it, manage it, and develop it. DMOZ had its fair share of detractors, particularly from those who argued that its model would never result in a quality, commercially viable service. Then there were those who understood the possibilities of an emerging social media, and went on to build powerful consumer brands based on the idea of self-organizing communities.

    The '00s: Growth, Loss and Rebirth

    Reflecting over the past decade it is too easy to come up with a list of DMOZ's successes. In the last ten years, DMOZ has gone from scrappy start-up to search industry stalwart. DMOZ data is consumed by thousands of search engines and websites in over 80 languages, from Google to smaller, special interest websites.

    DMOZ has scaled to become, and sustained itself as the largest human-edited directory of the web. Over 84,000 editors (and growing) have contributed over the years, listing of more than 4.5 million websites total. DMOZ has been a major influence in the rise of social media, inspiring the creation of projects like Wikipedia. Its model for collaboration has been refined and improved upon to form the basis of a number of other editor-contributor projects.

    At the beginning of the last decade, DMOZ was managed by a small staff that had the goal of turning DMOZ into a self-regulating community of editors. DMOZ has pushed the limits of community self-regulation. Today, DMOZ operates primarily as a self-governing meritocracy in which day-to-day activities – from editor account requests to submission suggestions and editorial quality – are wholly managed by the community with limited staff oversight.

    A review of the past decade would not be complete without mentioning the day DMOZ went dark in late 2006 after a catastrophic operations failure. The herculean efforts and steadfast dedication of its technical editors and community leaders brought DMOZ back to life.

    Over the '00 decade, DMOZ has grown to be one of the most successful collaborative projects on the web. It has outlasted its commercial counterparts, and continues to be relevant in the search industry. The keys to its longevity and usefulness are its dedicated community, its open, collaborative editorial model, its non-commercial nature, and open data distribution channel.

    The '10s: Looking Ahead

    As easy as it is to come up with a list of DMOZ's successes, it's equally easy to come up with a list of things it can improve upon. This list is well documented in the annals of editor forums and search engine industry blogs.

    Much like Ruth's kitchen and her life in general, DMOZ still looks and operates much the same way it did a decade ago ... avocado green appliances and all. While DMOZ receives hundreds of editor applications, and lists thousands of websites each week, it needs a new Plan – a new blueprint for the future of how the web is organized, and how human organized data is consumed.

    Using traditional web directories as a means for information discovery is a thing of the past. However, the need for organized web-based content continues to grow exponentially. The future of DMOZ does not lie merely in improving its toolset, making it more SEO friendly, or convincing others of its collective brilliance. Its future lies in turning the entire thing on its head.

    In 2020, here's what I hope will be listed as the early successes of DMOZ during the '10s – and since DMOZ has been a bit like the Hotel California to me, I might even be writing it:

    • Developed an API to DMOZ data that allowed editors and developers across the web to write new applications using DMOZ data
    • Transformed from a fixed-path directory, to the largest faceted system for organizing information on the web
    • Become a major influencer in bringing the semantic web out of the lab and the enterprise, and into the entire web, popularizing Web 3.0 applications
    • Transformed DMOZ from a single service operated by a relatively closed and exclusive community to a suite of products with multiple levels of participation and engagement, particularly around communities of interests, both commercial and non-commercial.

    And hopefully that's just 2010. What's said in the years ahead depends on how the web community shapes DMOZ and develops new ways of using its data and services. I'm excited by the future of DMOZ as much as I was in January 2000.
    Jan 27th 2010 7:30PM
    Happy New Year!

    Now that 2009 is officially in the books, it's time to take a look back at the year that was. We've already heard about our editors' many projects and accomplishments this past year, so I thought we'd take the opportunity to look at some of our directory statistics and some trends we've seen throughout the year.

    As we've highlighted in the past, the DMOZ user base is incredibly international. In 2009 we had visitors from over 236 countries and territories around the globe. While five countries (US, UK, Germany, Italy and Canada) still account for the bulk of the visitors, we've also had visitors from emerging markets including India, Russia and China as well as from smaller areas such as Micronesia, Chad, Andorra, Benin, Christmas and Easter Islands – even Vatican City.

    According to ComScore, an independent company that measures internet usage, nearly 60% of these visitors were between the ages of 18 and 49; of these, 52% are male and 47% are female. The top two sources of traffic are Google and Wikipedia.

    In terms of the directory itself, we added more than 2500 new editors and more than 7000 editors contributed to the project this year. Editors made nearly 2 million editing actions, including more than 700000 URLs added or updated, and created more than 26000 new categories.

    Kudos to all who have made 2009 a success! We're looking forward to an excellent 2010.
    Dec 8th 2009 11:48AM
    Directory & Community Development

    Greenbust Effort & the Purple Push
    makrhod headed up two projects to process long-standing edits. During the first, she encouraged editors to process greenbusts that had accumulated over time. The result was that greenbust edits were completely cleared for all directory branches except for World, and even there the number was considerably diminished.

    In the Purple Push, makrhod again organized editors to process all update requests. This effort was completely successful. Thanks to the efforts of many editors, the directory was declared completely update-free (for a little while, anyway).

    Both of these were incredible achievements and representative of the amazing collaborative efforts of our editors. Thanks to everyone who helped with these initiatives!

    "Foodbusters" Initiative
    The Shopping/Food editors held a week-long "Foodbusters" challenge to process the unreviewed sites in this area of the directory. This resulted in 211 new listings in this area.

    Typo Fixes
    Between March and July, bluestar fixed over 38,000 typos in titles, descriptions, category descriptions and submission notices across Business, Computers, Games, Health, Home, News, Recreation, Reference, Science, Society, Sports and parts of Regional.

    Geocities Updates
    Geocities closed down in November rendering thousands of listings obsolete. Beginning on the day of Yahoo's announcement in April and continuing throughout the months leading up to the closure, editors worked tirelessly to find replacement sites (where possible) and remove any outdated listings.

    Addition of Current Events Categories
    This year, editors dedicated a great deal of time to updating existing categories and developing new categories to cover timely events. Examples include:
    The work of numerous editors made these categories possible. Thanks to everyone who contributed to the effort!

    Editor School
    A new class entered Editor School this year. This mentorship program pairs newer editors with more experienced mentors to help mentees gain additional knowledge and experience in editing.

    Official DMOZ Blog
    Keeping this blog running throughout the year is a collaborative effort between the editor community and AOL Staff. Editors help with all aspects of the blog including editorial calendar development, writing and editing posts and responding to common questions and concerns from our readers. artisands, hiraeth, glippitt, lisagirl, mollybdenum, imrankhan, crowbar, jensarentoft, laigh, and stevek have each contributed at least one post in 2009; and chaos127, johndouglas, laigh, mollybdenum and photofox have kept everything running smoothly.

    International Growth & Development

    Expansion in World/Thai
    Thai editors, under the leadership of vorapon, have done a phenomenal job of building out the Thai language categories. In 2009, the number of listings has doubled from 2000 to 4000.

    Creation of World/Sinhala
    This year, editors under the leadership of sirisusara created a new category for sites in the Sri Lankan Sinhala language.

    World/Punjabi_Gurmukhi Script Changes
    Editor hswaseer has been busy converting the titles and descriptions from transliterated Punjabi into Gurmukhi script.

    Expansion of United Kingdom Regional Categories
    Editors in the UK regional categories made tremendous progress this year. The England category topped the 125,000 listing mark; Scotland increased by 30%; and the Isle of Wight increased from 600 sites and 30 locations to 1800 sites and 60 locations.

    Expansion of World/Russian
    The World/Russian branch increased by approximately 9000 sites. Editors in this area performed over 80 topical reorganizations and created a Russian sub-forum in Resource Zone (link). An additional 250 editors joined this branch; additionally, two Russian editors were granted meta privileges and an additional two were granted top-level privileges in World/Russian. In 2009, there were 25 posts and 3200 comments on the unofficial Russian DMOZ Blog (in Russian).

    Personal Milestones & Achievements

    New Editor Achievements
    wszp joined the project this summer and has to date made 708 edits including 273 unique adds.

    Use of DMOZ RDF Data to Improve Directory Search
    Over the summer, tanstaaf1 created a site to improve DMOZ usage and promotion of the World/Russian and World/Ukrainian branches through improved search functionality. The site is built on the RDF data and provides better results than the built-in ODP search because of an improved ability to handle Russian and Ukrainian morphology (inflections, word forms). For each category displayed in the search results, the user may view listings and (based on permissions) edit that category or suggest & update site listings.

    You can give this a try in English & in Russian with these sample categories:

    In Memoriam
    Sadly, we lost two of our long-time editors in recent months. Both ianillo and brmehlman made countless contributions to the directory and to the DMOZ community overall during their many years of volunteer service. They will be greatly missed.
    Nov 20th 2009 8:19PM
    Hey everyone,

    As we've highlighted in the past, directory searches can be very helpful if you're looking for a broad overview of a general topic. Have you ever thought about how you might be able to use this to learn more about current events? Editor glippitt has put together an article that highlights some of the excellent current events categories available in DMOZ.


    - - - - - - - - - -
    According to the front page of the US version of Google News recently, the top stories were Obama's trip to China (what's their government been saying and doing lately?), Sarah Palin's new book (what did she say about the notorious Katie Couric interviews?), and unilateral Palestinian steps (whatever happened to the Roadmap?). Want some background information to help inform your views on these topics? Check out the relevant DMOZ categories:
    Barack Obama
    Sarah Palin
    Palestinian Territory
    Israel-Palestine Conflict

    Under World News there was also the UN food summit (what else is the UN doing these days?) and climate change (isn't something happening in Copenhagen soon?):
    United Nations
    Climate change

    U.S. news included the New Jersey car license plate issue (is the state government that desperate for money?) and trying the terrorist suspects in NYC (how does the civilian court system work, and how does it differ from the military court option?):
    New Jersey government
    War on Terrorism
    Judicial Branch
    U.S. Military Law

    Medical companies (how are they reacting to healthcare reform?), the Japanese economy (is it recovering?), and Asian stocks (how have their stock markets been doing?) were in the Business news:
    Healthcare Business
    Japan Business and Economy
    Asia Business and Economy

    Sci/Tech included NASA and the Mars Rover (what else is going on in the space program?), Super Mario Bros. Wii (how many Mario Bros. games are there, anyway?), and digital books (which is the best e-book reader for my mother?):
    Mario Games
    Digital Books

    Entertainment news was about the Oscars (didn't they change the format this year?) and The Twilight Saga: New Moon film (what's the history of vampires in art?):
    Academy Awards

    Sports news centered on football (where can I find some official gear or memorabilia to give someone?) and Nascar (where are the fan sites, chats and forums?):
    2010 Winter Olympics

    Health news focused on healthcare legislation (what's that public option all about?), the swine flu (who's most at risk?), and the effectiveness of popular cholesterol drugs (what about the drugs I'm taking?):
    U.S. Healthcare Reform
    A-H1N1 (Swine flu)
    Drugs and Medications

    Our editors are from countries all over the world, with varied backgrounds and interests. What we all have in common is a desire to volunteer some of our time to research topics for the benefit of our users. Good as search engines are these days, the efforts of human editors to find, review, categorize, annotate - and cull! - websites on a topic can often save you time and effort. Maybe we'll help you find sites which aren't 'popular' enough to rank high in the search engine results, but are especially informative. Maybe we'll build a sub-category which you hadn't even thought about. Maybe you'll follow one of our links to a related category. However you use what we've created, remember we did this for you. Not for website owners or website designers or SEO specialists, but for people using the web to improve their knowledge and understanding, and to find what they're looking for.

    In this season of thanksgiving, whether you celebrate it as a national holiday or through your general thoughts, please take a moment to reflect and give thanks for all the volunteers in the world donating their time and efforts to help others. DMOZ is just one of these efforts, but it's one we as Dmoz editors care about very much. Happy Thanksgiving!
    Oct 26th 2009 5:52PM
    If you've spent much time here on the blog or over in the public forums at Resource Zone, you've probably seen us mention many different editor titles - meta, admin, staff and editall, for example – but do you know what role each type of editor plays within the directory?

    There are two basic types of designations for editor titles. One refers to the breadth of editing permissions, and the other refers to a role in directory management. Each is detailed below.

    Breadth of Editing
    This group is instrumental in shaping the contents, look and feel of the directory. Editors with this type of permissions make decisions about where things should be placed within the directory. They create new categories, break them apart when they get too big, and move them around as needed. And, of course, they add, update and remove listings from their categories, as needed.

    "Editor" is a generic term that refers to anyone who volunteers to work on the DMOZ directory. All of our volunteers have permissions to work in one or more categories as well as all sub-categories under the ones for which they are the named editor.

    New editors start with one small category (generally 100 sites or fewer, including all sub-categories). As an editor gains experience, he or she may request permissions to edit in additional categories. These new permissions may be granted by senior-level editors upon review of that editor's current categories.

    No matter how many more advanced permissions any volunteer has been granted, he or she always maintains the designation of editor and adheres to the same set of general directory guidelines.

    Greenbuster is a special kind of permission granted to editors who wish to expand their editing skills by working in larger areas of the directory than those in which they have full permissions to edit. The name refers to the color of new site suggestions that an editor sees when he or she logs into the editor dashboard. Greenbusters work in this unreviewed pool of suggested sites and help named editors (or other editors in the branch if there is no named editor) to review the suggestions, edit their titles and descriptions (if necessary) and propose inclusion in the category. Greenbusted edits require a final review by an editor with full permissions in that category before they go live to the public.

    This has two benefits to the directory: it helps junior-level editors get additional experience in a safe and secure environment, and it helps build out the directory in areas (or languages) where there is either a shortage of editors or an overwhelming number of site suggestions.

    Cateditall is the title given to an editor who has permissions to edit and move categories anywhere within a given top-level category (for example, Top/Recreation or World/<Language>/<Topic> for non-English categories). The job of the cateditall is to take a leadership role at the category level to help guide the strategy and provide "big picture" thinking for that level.

    Editall is very similar to cateditall, except that the permissions are applied to the directory as a whole as opposed to one category or branch.

    At some point, you may have seen reference to editall/catmv. Catmv permissions allow the editor to move whole categories (as opposed to just individual sites) from one part of the directory to another in order to execute on the overall ontology strategy. In many cases, an editor who has editall permissions will also have catmv permissions, but no editor can have catmv permissions without the designation of editall.

    Directory Management
    Editors with these types of permissions carry out general management tasks such as processing new applications, granting (and, when necessary, retracting) new categories & permissions, handling abuse reports and project management. They also exhibit strong leadership skills and take a very active role in the directory and forums.

    Catmods are managers for specific top-level categories (for example, Top/Arts). They are experts in these areas and they act as primary points of contact for editors who work in their areas. Their catmod permissions include the ability to act in parallel to cateditalls, but they also maintain primary responsibility for directory development in their categories. This includes actions such as driving category strategy, moderating forums and helping to build solid editor ranks through mentorship programs and other methods.

    The primary job of meta editors is community development. They emphasize team work, consensus building & editor accountability, and they play a leading role in efforts to root out editor abuses.

    Similar to catmods, metas also maintain all of the permissions held by editall/catmvs.

    At the admin level, editors participate in community governance. They take an active role in communications, both within the editor community where they act as forum moderators and provide community-wide updates via dashboard notes, and with the public through their role as curators of the directory documentation. It is also the responsibility of admins to assign permissions of (cat)editall and meta to editors who have demonstrated excellence in editing and community development.

    While many editors at all levels may maintain permissions to edit in both the Classic DMOZ and Kids & Teens directories, only admins are guaranteed to have permissions in both. At other levels, editors are granted permissions in a parallel structure for the Kids & Teens directory, as designated by the "k" prefix in their titles (for example, "kmeta").

    There is one additional designation that falls outside these two main groups.

    This refers to employees of AOL, DMOZ's parent company, who work on the DMOZ project. Staff's primary responsibilities include building and maintaining the directory's technical infrastructure and public relations/marketing for the project.

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