Browsing Roadfly
Roadfly is both a directory that happens to be searchable, and a search engine. Believe it or not, this distinction is important when looking for information on the World Wide Web.

Searchable directories and search engines treat information differently. They approach it differently, store it differently, and present it to the world differently. While each style has its value, there's a point we're trying to make here: When it comes to finding information on the Web, directories and search engines are different.

Search Engines vs. Browseable Directories

If you'd like to know what information a search engine such as Alta Vista has on, say, mutual funds, you have to search. You do not know what a search engine contains until you search it.

Simple as that. Everything contained within a search engine is a mystery until you start picking away at it, using different keywords, refining your searches, and trying again and again. Even then, you do not have a complete picture of what the engine contains. What you do have is a series of search results pages that emerge from the various keywords you've chosen. So for the above example, you might try: "Stereo's," "OEM Radios," "Alpine," and the like. You'll probably come up with a fairly good collection of results, but will you ever have access to all the sites about mutual funds the search engine contains? No.

Not so with directories. Yes, you can search a directory such as Roadfly But, you can also browse through its rich hierarchy of information: a vast collection of categories and sub-categories created by people, not computer programs. And by browsing, you can have in front of you a good, perhaps complete listing of all the sites that cover a particular subject--in this case, Alpine Stereo's. Just look for the category.

So, one important difference between search engines and directories is that directories have structure. You can navigate this structure and peruse the information contained within it, making choices as you go along. With a directory such as Roadfly, you can choose to navigate your way to a particular category--example again, Stereo's--and once there, know that you haven't missed anything. That, very simply, is why browsing is beautiful.

Inside the Search Machine

Roadfly search looks for three main things:

  • Roadfly categories
  • web sites listed in Roadfly
  • web pages indexed by Roadfly

For the first two of these, Roadfly searches for matches in its database and then ranks the results in order of most relevant to least relevant. Some of the factors that affect relevancy are:

  • the number of search words matched. The more words matched, the higher the rank.
  • exact word matches. These are ranked higher than approximate matches.
  • where in an entry the search words were found. A match in the title of a site is ranked higher than a match in the comments or the URL. | BMW Central | Porsche Central | Mini Central
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