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Encouraging more tiny directories

Off the top of my head I can see 2 ways to encourage more directories.

1. Some sort of new free open source small directory script.  Easy to install.

2. A remotely hosted solution like the old Hyperlinkd  which would give subdomains and a basic, working directory.

More as I think on it.

Re: Encouraging more tiny directories

Reply #1
I think an easy way would be to put all of your links under a Pinboard tag. It would be even cooler, though, if Pinboard would let you make a main page for your directory.

Perhaps you could use to make a main page that lead into your links at Pinboard.

Another good option would be for someone to make a simple directory maker through

Re: Encouraging more tiny directories

Reply #2
Good suggestions.  They fit in well with our guerrilla discovery theme.

Having now used Pinboard myself, I see what you mean.  That would work and could be great fun so long as one is disciplined in adding keywords to the Pinboard bookmarks.  (Something I need to get better at.)

Glitch mystifies me so I'll take your word for it. 

Re: Encouraging more tiny directories

Reply #3
This might just be me seeing directories everywhere - but it also seems that wikis, git repos and even Twitter can be used to make a directory, if it suits your style.

I shouldn't need to explain wikis so much - but for a nice example, see Wikipedia's 'category portal':

(There are awesome hosted wikis around - but imo TiddlyWiki is just the best to start with.)

Git repos are called 'awesome directories' when they do this:

For the master of Twitter threads as directories: see visakanv's

(The above website, is another great place to start a directory.)

If I were doing a handmade HTML directory from scratch as a total newb, I would hope that someone would show me

Re: Encouraging more tiny directories

Reply #4
My knee jerk reaction was, "Yeah but how does the general public even know that some of these are directories?"

But that was wrong.

It's all a matter of context and setting:  people who hang around Github (and you know who you are) are likely to spot a directory or an archive on Github, and if that is who the intended audience is then it makes a lot of sense.


The ability to cross index almost anything, plus have outside links makes a wiki an incredibly powerful platform for a directory.  (And yes Wikipedia acts as a directory, so long as they continue to link out.)  There is so much untapped potential with wikis partly because you can build a real expert knowledge base with one while also making a directory. is a good example of an extensive wiki that is also a directory.

Another wiki as directory advantage is the search engines may very well index and list it.  The search engines thinking that it's a wiki and not a directory (which they don't seem to like.)

One caution with a wiki is link retrieval of links might not be as fast as many what.

@Kicks Condor  all these ideas are good.

I was also thinking about these in terms of dissenting people living in repressive countries.  Creating guerrilla directories might help get links to information past the censor's firewall.  Perhaps even better if they have some other form than a standard directory script.

Re: Encouraging more tiny directories

Reply #5
Not to be overlooked here is which is a human reviewed directory although one with a spider for on page text (plus metas).  It has a search only UI and because it can spider the content on the page the search function is much better than most conventional directories.  Still it's a directory of a sort and a darn nice one.

Re: Encouraging more tiny directories

Reply #6
My knee jerk reaction was, "Yeah but how does the general public even know that some of these are directories?"
Well - and I also feel like there are all kinds of places that directories have snuck into - where people aren't thinking of them in that way. Perhaps that is the most useful directory, because you're too busy using it to think about what it is.

I think identifying these things as (fundamentally) directories helps in a few ways:

  • The term directory has become so outdated, it is basically synonymous with "something from the past which was far less efficient than Google." By pointing out modern directories to someone, you can change the perspective. "Ohhh, yeah - those are everywhere!"
  • It's basically impossible for your average web user to create a search engine. So competition with Google seems impossible. However, demonstrating all of the simple directories around helps these people see that's it's very trivial to make a directory. And a directory (or collection of directories) can lead to a corpus for a search engine.
  • Strategies for maintaining a directory can be applied to these other variations. (Link checking, mirroring, tag wrangling.)
  • This perspective can inspire new projects. If someone looked at their Pinboard history as a directory, they might be motivated to write some scripts to present these links as a nice, organized directory. This would be sweet!

I think showing how visakanv uses Twitter threads - or like you say, how Wiby is a directory - is really cool to show people - because even extremely limited tools can be fleshed out into kinds of directories if you apply some creativity.

Great topic!

Re: Encouraging more tiny directories

Reply #7
In Re. the quote:  Shot down in a flurry of Wrong.   ;D

I love that bullet list because it focuses on what we are trying to do here:  facilitate discovery by hyperlinking. 

Trust is important here and trust can only be built over time.   Example:  When I find a site that has wonderful information it builds trust, so that when I come around to looking at their link page, I'm already half sold that these links lead to something important.  Likewise, when I come to a collection of links by you or @joe jenett I'm following your links because of I trust you to be my guides.

Building trust is harder with a conventional directory, although the directory editor can do so through their link descriptions or comments on a link.

Re: Encouraging more tiny directories

Reply #8
To “facilitate discovery by hyperlinking.”  I like that. Some random thoughts:

Kicks' idea of Pinboard being a directory is spot on so thanks for the nudge Brad - I also need to get better at tagging my Pinboard links (iwebthings@pinboard). Right now, the majority of my tags are organizational tools I use for tracking sites I link to from the dailywebthing and daily pointers. I definitely need to add additional descriptive tags for my Pinboard <i>directory</i> to be more useful to others. I might want to self-host a ‘main page’ to it once I get my act together on adding those tags.

I know not everyone uses (or likes) Wordpress like I do but I'll mention I recently found a plugin (Pinboard Bookmarks), which allows me to show recent Pinboard links in the sidebar at i.webthings along with a link to my Pinboard page (as a widget).

I agree with Brad about your bullet list Kicks - modern directories are everywhere. Even without categories and tags, every link list is at least a directory to sites and ideas someone likes enough to share. When I encounter a new blog I like and it has a blogroll, I see it as a tiny directory into what makes that blogger tick. Makes me want to explore and in some cases, share what I've discovered in the hopes of helping others discover new things and perhaps, share what they've found with others and so it goes. Discovering a Pinboard user with similar interests motivates me in a similar way and those tags sure come in handy in finding new things. Human curated links are more powerful than a search engine's results. At least to me they are.

So, I'm onboard with encouraging others to hyperlink and discover, or discover and hyperlink, whichever comes first. 😀

Re: Encouraging more tiny directories

Reply #9

Joe, I think I'm using pinboard a bit like you do.  I use it as sort of a holding tank for links: either articles I want to read more carefully later or stuff destined for adding to Indieseek.  Because of that temporary nature, I've never really done much with tagging my pinboard entries.  Personally I'm not sure I can change, but I agree with Kicks that pinboard, properly tagged, makes a splendid directory for someone who does not want to maintain a full directory script or run a webthing.

Anyway, that's what I'm doing now, going back through pinboard and reviewing links saved over the summer, and adding them to the directory.  I find this works well, because some don't make the cull after I give them a second look.  Sometimes it's good to give a find some extra thought.

What facilitates pinboard for me is the bookmarklet.  It makes it so easy to bookmark.

Re: Encouraging more tiny directories

Reply #11
Perhaps we could work on a starter guide together on how to build a directory? I'm think we could even tackle a few different kinds.

Something appealing like this:

This is a very good idea.  I'll read through the example to start formulating ideas.