When Smaller is Better

When you're searching for help with everyday tasks, smaller, more focused directories are often more useful than search engines.

How often have you ever become exasperated with a search engine offering millions of results when you just want the answer to a simple question? For example, how do I create a web site? Or how do I contact a government official? How do I cope with a family illness or death?

These kinds of questions aren't always easily answered by search engines. This led the folks at 1DO3 to create a tightly focused directory that focuses on "real world" tasks and information.

"We've created a site that is specifically geared to matching websites to common everyday tasks, said 1DO3 co-founder David Hopson. "We've combined the best features of search engines, directories and portals to make a 'shortal'."

Hopson says the goal is to trade off huge coverage of the web for short, carefully researched and categorized lists of sites, tightly focused on what our users want to do in the 'real world' rather than in cyber space. Each link is editorially selected for quality and usefulness.

The site is organized like a directory, but the categories are refreshingly different than those offered by the "big three." Within each category, you can either use the search box or simply click on a pre-configured statement that answers "what do you want to do?"

Each of these statements begins with an unambiguous verb, like "download," "get," "plan," and so on. Results are displayed on the right side of the screen.

"Although we're not a search engine in a formal sense, we are very much in the business of providing our users with high quality 'results' that can help them to achieve their goals," said Hopson. "Our quality not quantity approach stems from a belief that when you want to get something practical done using the web, it is often more useful to be offered a handful of relevant and useful sites, which have already been checked out, as opposed to the millions that are offered by Google or AllTheWeb."

1DO3 is primarily focused on tasks and information for the U.K., but provides enough useful information to make it a worthwhile tool for users based elsewhere. And particularly of note in the increasingly "noisy" world of the web: "At 1DO3 we hate jargon, pop up advertising and useless links to poor websites."

An editorially compiled directory of web sites focused on real-world tasks and information.

Specialty Search Engines
For those times when you want to find more than just web pages and web sites, some of the "specialty search engines" on this list will prove useful.

Search Headlines

NOTE: Article links often change. In case of a bad link, use the publication's search facility, which most have, and search for the headline.

Domain name news
ICANN forced to open books to disgruntled director...
Silicon.com Jul 30 2002 8:37AM GMT
Online portals news
Yahoo Takeover Talk Quiets...
FOXNews.com Jul 30 2002 6:58AM GMT
Online marketing news
IVillage evicts pop-up ads...
USA Today Jul 30 2002 6:46AM GMT
Web Ads: What Will You See in the Future?...
ABCNEWS.com Jul 30 2002 6:00AM GMT
Internet: international news
Online Museum Honors 1812 War...
Moscow Times Jul 29 2002 11:46PM GMT
Domain name news
VeriSign lied in ICANN race case...
The Register Jul 29 2002 6:36PM GMT
Top internet stories
Web Site Lets Visitors Peek at Corporate Carping...
New York Times Jul 29 2002 5:14AM GMT
Online search engines news
U.S. Department of Defense to Use Verity Technology...
EContent Jul 28 2002 1:32AM GMT
Online portals news
Yahoo introduces paid email service...
Europemedia.net Jul 27 2002 8:04PM GMT
Terra Lycos loses its biggest advertiser...
Europemedia.net Jul 27 2002 8:04PM GMT
Online search engines news
Google remains most popular search engine...
Europemedia.net Jul 27 2002 8:04PM GMT
Online content news
InfoSpace seeking reverse stock split...
Seattle Times Jul 27 2002 4:16PM GMT
Technology features
Internet privacy: The danger of good intentions...
CNET Jul 27 2002 3:33AM GMT
powered by Moreover.com

About the author

Chris Sherman is a frequent contributor to several information industry journals. He's written several books, including The McGraw-Hill CD ROM Handbook and The Invisible Web: Uncovering Information Sources Search Engines Can't See, co-authored with Gary Price. Chris has written about search and search engines since 1994, when he developed online searching tutorials for several clients. From 1998 to 2001, he was About.com's Web Search Guide.