Absolute Best Websites, 2003 Edition


206 pages
ISBN 0-9731021-0-1
DDC 025.04




Edited by Roger Owen Abbiss
Reviewed by Geoffrey Harder

Geoffrey Harder is a public services librarian and manager, Knowledge Common, in the Science and Technology Library of the University of Alberta.


Absolute Best Websites is one of many expert-selected directories that
attempt to guide users to the best of the web.

Among its interesting features is the integration of a paper-based
directory with an online counterpart (namely, sites.com). In the paper
copy, subject categories are displayed as URLs. For example,
www.home.decor.sites.com is the subject heading for selected sites
devoted to the topic of home décor. The reader types this address into
a web browser and is taken to an online listing of sites similar to
those displayed in the book.

This reviewer found the results to be somewhat inconsistent in terms of
not finding the proper subject pages and in terms of the content
displayed under each category. Creating indexes for the visible web is a
formidable task, requiring careful and transparent selection criteria
that make it clear why the selections are deemed to be the best. Based
on an examination of both the paper index and the sites.com site, it
isn’t obvious that this is the case.

The directory lacks a site index, although most readers will likely use
the book to browse by subject. There are well-written annotations, but
little effort has been made to explain why certain sites were chosen in
favour of other sites often equally, if not better, suited to inclusion
in the subject area.

Absolute Best Websites may be of use to some newcomers to the Internet,
but it is of little use to those familiar with the free indexes
available from any of the major search engines or sources like the Open
Directory Project (dmoz.org) and the Librarians’ Index to the Internet


“Absolute Best Websites, 2003 Edition,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 21, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/17302.