Since 1998, the Open Directory Project has been the largest, most comprehensive human-edited directory of the Web.
It is constructed and maintained by a passionate, global community of volunteer editors.
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 China 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
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?): NASA 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 Vampires
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?): Football NASCAR 2010 Winter Olympics
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!
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 "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 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 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 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. Catmod 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.
Meta 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.
Admin 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.
Staff 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.
- - - - - - - - - - - Yes it is that time of year again, the time for me, laigh, to pop in and say hello and let you know how I am getting on and what I have been up to.
I have now been an editor for just over two years and have completed just over 75000 edits in that time but the number of edits is just a part of the story.
Late last year I decided to take a rest. I had been spending quite a lot of my spare time editing, and although enjoying it, I decided to have a break for a while. I took some time off and returned with increased vigour about two months later. To my surprise, within a month or so of my return, I was given further permission in the directory. I was entrusted with the position of editall and catmv. This allowed me to work in most parts of the directory and to be able to change category names. Within a few weeks of that "promotion" I was then given permissions to work in all of the Kids and Teens. I now can edit anywhere in the directory.
Obviously the senior editors (admins and metas) consider very carefully if an editor can handle permissions such as editall, and I am very happy that they thought I could. The first time I opened up my editor interface I was amazed at the amount of scope ODP actually has. I had worked in large parts of the directory before these permissions but the utter size of the directory actually dawned on me that morning. What I was taught that day was not how much I knew about ODP but how much I didn't know. Being an editall doesn't automatically qualify you to edit anywhere, all it does is open up a huge learning curve so that you can start to educate yourself to edit in places that you have not been before.
What do I concentrate my time on now that I can "go anywhere". Basically I spend a lot of my time in QC (Quality Control) work. I go around the directory looking for sites that may have gone bad, changed, or even disappeared all together. I see this as a very important part of maintaining the projects standards and keeping the user experience to the highest possible degree. I have also being doing a bit of work within the Kids and Teens <http://www.dmoz.org/Kids_and_Teens/> area. I have been working on expanding the category that deals with The Boy Scouts of America at http://www.dmoz.org/Kids_and_Teens/People_and_Society/Organizations/Pe rsonal_Development/Scouting/Boy_Scouts_of_America/. I have added quite a few sites to these categories and tidied up quite a few too. Still a long way to go but anything good is worth taking your time over.
I do tend to do a few other jobs around the project, but don't worry I will not bore you with them, suffice to say it all keeps me busy.
Anyway, time to go now. I hope I will be able to talk to you again next year. I would like to say thanks to all my fellow editors for all their help, support and friendship over the last year and I would like to thank all members of the public and webmasters for continuing to support us by suggesting relevant quality sites and using the directory for their own projects.
For many students, school is now back in full-swing and assignments are starting to pile up. If you (or someone you know) recently returned to school, DMOZ can be a great resource to use as a starting point for projects or research papers for students of all ages.
Elementary School through High School As we've mentioned in the past, the Kids & Teens directory contains a wealth of hand-selected information for children ranging in age from pre-school to high school. School age children can use the directory to find homework help, access virtual exhibits at leading museums, and find learning enrichment activities in areas such as science and reading. Older students can find homework help and reference tools in the Kids & Teens directory as well, but there is also additional content specific to career choices, higher education opportunities and organizations & activities to help teens explore career paths and options for additional education. Want to give it a try? Check out some of these categories:
You can also find resources for specific academic subject areas and content in a variety of languages.
College & Beyond For university students, the directory can prove to be an invaluable resource as a starting point for research. I know this first-hand as my own introduction to DMOZ was conducting research for an undergraduate term paper.
As we've pointed out in the past, DMOZ is an excellent place to locate general information on topics ranging from world affairs to social sciences to scientific research journals. It's also an excellent place to find trade groups and information on local businesses that may be able to assist by providing interviews or site visits.
After that, I had enough information to help me begin a more focused search using additional resources.
Many of our editors are experts in their fields and have compiled categories that reflect their passion for and knowledge of these topics. If you find that your area of academic interest isn't well-represented in the directory why not join us as an editor & help build it out?
A lot of our blog posts are dedicated to exploring the internal workings of the directory or the way in which DMOZ grows, but we don't often talk about how the data is used once it's included in the directory. While the stand-alone DMOZ directory is an excellent resource, many of the information-seekers who benefit from directory content come into contact with it through third-party sites that use the data.
You may have heard DMOZ called by another name – the Open Directory Project, or ODP. This is where the "Open" comes in. The DMOZ license agreement states that users may download the RDF – in other words, the entire contents of the directory – and use some or all of it on their sites free of charge. Many sites both large and small incorporate data compiled by our dedicated corps of volunteer editors. The best-known example of this may be the Google Directory which applies Google's propriety PageRank data to DMOZ results. In other cases, site owners use a small portion of the data relevant to their own regions, localities or lines of business.
In exchange for use of the data, site owners agree to include an attribution badge to ensure that the editors get credit for the work they do to build and maintain the directory. The badge is also important in that it allows interested users to learn more about the project and, potentially, to decide to join us as editors to help it grow. There are some fairly common questions about how and when the badge must be displayed. Examples include:
1. I am only using a very small portion of the data – just one category, or even just a few links. Do I have to display the badge? Yes. You may use all or part of the directory data on your site, but any quantity of ODP data (large or small) you select must be acknowledged with the badge.
2. I am including my own data in addition to DMOZ data. Do I have to display the badge? Yes. The license's badging requirement also applies to any derivative works created by end users.
3. I run my own directory and accept my own site submissions in addition to the DMOZ-listed sites. Do I have to display the badge? Yes. The rules here are the same as with any other derivative work.
4. Are there any circumstances in which I can use data and not display the badge? The short answer is no. Any use of DMOZ data must be acknowledged in accordance with the license.
Sites that do not display the badge are in violation of the license agreement. Site owners may be contacted by DMOZ and asked to make the appropriate updates in order to comply.
You can read more about the DMOZ license requirements here and download a code snippet to add the badge to your site here.