RIP Yahoo Directory

Last Friday Yahoo announced that it will retire its original service, the Yahoo directory, at the end of 2014.  Perhaps the only surprise was that the Yahoo directory is still running. I don’t suppose it will be missed by many, but I noticed it going because the first article I ever wrote on learning technology was  Finding Information on WWWwhich I wrote for the CTI-Physics newsletter in Jun 1995. It was prompted by my boss at the time, Dick Bacon, saying that he thought there were lots of really useful resources on the web, but it was really difficult to find them. I suggested three approaches: social, organised collections and search, which I think stands up reasonably well today, though we’ve kind of moved on from mailbase to twitter. Search at the time was in its infancy, Lycos being the search engine of choice (yes, not only was this before Google, it was before Alta Vista). I still work on that question “how do you find information on the web?” Through LRMI and we are helping search engine providers improve their products, and one of my favourite initiatives of the last few years, the Learning Registry, and specifically the kritikos project has seen the coming together search and social, allowing students to share what they find to be useful for their courses.