Subject Directories

Subject directories (or guides) are lists of Web sites arranged by topic or broad subject area. They are great starting points and are useful for general topic browsing. Directories begin with a broad subject heading and then progressively narrow the topic by presenting sub-categories.


The home page of the Internet Public Library 2's subject directory, showing different search options, such as resources by subject, newspapers and magazines, or even materials specialized for kids or teens

Subject directories can be helpful if you have a general topic (such as health or psychology) for which you would like to get an overview of Web sites that might be available. They can also be helpful in locating information when you are unsure of the correct or best search terms to use.

There are hundreds of subject directories available on the Web. Some of the general directories are:

  • Contra Costa College Library
    Site Guides
  • Google Directory
  • Infomine
  • IPL2 (Internet Public Library)
  • Refdesk.com
  • Yahoo! Directory

a subject directory Web page from the Contra Costa College Library Web site

Some subject directories are very selective about the sites they include. Yahoo! Directory, for example, only lists sites that have been viewed by its staff, but it is not academically oriented. Other directories, such as IPL2, Infomine, and Contra Costa's Site Guides, are compiled and maintained by experts and are more useful for academic research.

Chapter 6 — Page 10