What is an article directory?
Wikipedia defines article directory as a website with collections of articles written about different subjects. What is your definition of an article directory?
I'm doing some research on the subject and preparing a paper about article directories and their functionality. I'd like to use your answers to conclude how people feel about article directories.
I should say an article directory is a list of articles that you can browse through (like the titles, summary, topic, etc) that are grouped accordingly. The internet made these directories humongous and finger-tip accessible. Hope my answer helps. Good luck on your paper :-)
I agree with your definition, but I would also say that the phrase "article directory" has a slightly negative connotation. When I see that phrase, I think of a site that allows submissions from a wide variety of people where quality control is not of the utmost importance, but rather quantity and advertising revenue are.
For example, I would never call Wikipedia an article directory even though it is basically a collection of articles on different topics. While they allow anyone to contribute, everything has to be verified. Sources must be included. Opinion pieces are deleted. And of course it has no ads.
Magazine type sites like The Atlantic or Slate.com I would also exclude from the article directory category. While they do have a large pool of contributors, they also have in house editors and writers who make sure that everything is properly sourced, even it is basically an opinion piece.
I feel that an article directory is a place where authors from all around the world can write content categorized into some useful form. In some cases, an article directory might contain spam or somewhat useless/irrelevant information, in this case, the phrase "article directory" definitely has a negative connotation. In the case of other sites like ezinearticles, I think of randomized mass article submitter/spinner programs, heh. Regardless, an article directory might be themes and might create very good information. Probably it is best not to emphasize the term article directory, even though Wikipedia for example might be considered one. It would even be ok I would think to say that you "have an article directory", but emphasizing it as what you are is probably a bad idea.
That Wikipedia definition goes on to say that article directories are sometimes referred to as "content farms," i.e., "websites created to produce mass content where some are based on 'churnalism'." Churnalism? Never heard that word before, so of course, I had to click the link Wikipedia provided. Here's Wiki's definition of churnalism:
" Churnalism is a form of journalism in which press releases, wire stories and other forms of pre-packaged material are used to create articles in newspapers and other news media in order to meet increasing pressures of time and cost without undertaking further research or checking. Churnalism has increased to the point that many stories found in the press are not original. The decline of original journalism has been associated with a corresponding rise in public relations."
Both "content farm" and "churnalism" have negative connotations precisely because there appears to be no fact checking or other editing of articles before publication. The inference is that the quality of content in article directories doesn't meet journalistic standards, hence the negative connotation. Some article directories strive to improve content quality via their content guidelines, but this doesn't always work since anyone can contribute. As a result, it's often up to the reader to determine the value of the content.
My definition of an article directory is simply a listing of articles that can be categorized and sorted by various subjects.
But then I read the answer that PWalker281 gave. I was surprised to learn that Wikipedia defines an article directory as a "content farm" for churning out mass content.
I guess you are doing this research to determine which one is useful.
Content farms are places to stay away from in this new day and age where Google is working hard to give quality results in search. If one writes quality articles and combine them on a website with low quality, then the high quality will suffer ranking. Google has made that very clear in their webmaster blogs.
That's why HubPages split us up into subdirectories. It eliminates the "content farm" stigma since Google will see everyone as his or her own entity. Therefore everyone can stand on their own merits and not be affected negatively by other writers who don't offer quality or something of substance.
But if we consider an article directory as by my definition, I think it would be a worthwhile tool to help readers locate chosen subjects of interest. I wouldn’t think Google would frown at that since it is similar to a sitemap, which Google loves.
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