Criteria for inclusion in the "Best environmental directories" index.

The proposed URL must be itself an indexe, directory, list or database of sites on environmental particular topic. It can be:

-a simple exhaustive list of all sites relevant to the subject ("comprehensive"): all relevant submitted URLs are accepted

-a selection of sites ("selected") by the maintainer: recommanded sites only

-a searchable (meta)database ("metadatabase") where most relevant sites are indexed and can be found after a search session

-an encyclopedia on the subject, including general information and definitions, examples, links to selected sites and a search engine

For each of these categories, only one site is selected in order to save navigation time for the user. All recommended links are subject to change for each subject, when a better one seams to be provided on the Web. The criteria to replace an existing link are the following:

General criteria:

A"best" directory should be the most useful for the user in quickly finding latest quality information or data in the framework of the chosen topic: broad in the subtopics, connecting mainly quality sites, simple to use, performant and clear in browsing or search. The ideal directory would be a bookmark and starting page for a majority of users specialised in the field covered. The "Best environmental directory" makes the link to the useful page (the directory itself) and not to its host or server home page. Some contextual information on the directory itself should be visible: author, last update, criteria. If a directory specific to a new subject is proposed, it is visited by the maintainer and linked to if it can serve as a good starting point.  If a site covers the same subject than an existing one, the two sites are compared and only the best is kept on the list.

Depth of the index:

The index try to connect the most general subjects and does not provide all the details if the interresting links are connected by the lists themselves. The index will remain limitted in size (e.g. max 1000 links) using the following method: when another list of selected lists appears for a more specific subject, only this link will be maintained in the index. Example.

Criteria for comprehensive lists

The most comprehensive, the best, but all the sites listed must be directly and mainly related to the subject. The list should be organised in sub-topics or by type (organisations, databases, ...) and the display should be simple and quick to browse. Any site provider should be allowed to propose a new URL. Example.

Criteria for selected lists

The author of the selection should be an expert in the field and have spent some time to navigate the Internet in order to be able to propose really quality bookmarks. Example.

Criteria for metadatabases

Number of descriptive fields multiplied by the number of records should be high for mainly manually indexed and reviewed objects. The quality of the recorded objects can be a criteria if less records are present (case of a pre-selection of the objects to index). The ideal metadatabase would contain a description and (human controlled) indexing of all available sites in the subject, and a search tool allowing to select by several criteria such as keywords or descriptors, coverage, names, type of resource, size, etc. Example.

Criteria for encyclopedia

An encyclopedia should be self-sufficient to give the latest knowledge on a particular subject, and allow the reader to browse or search in order to know more details on particular chapters. The ideal encyclopedia has valuable information contents, and in addition it links to indexes, directories, databases, data and contact points. (see also my dream). Example.

Please make comments and suggestions

Bruno Kestemont

This page last updated on December 14, 1996.

Copyright © 1996 Center for Economic and Social Studies on the Environment-ULB