Web directory is an organized collection of links to websites. — Wikipedia
Business directory is a website or printed listing of information which lists businesses within categories. Businesses can be categorized by niche, location, activity, or size. Business may be compiled either manually or through an automated online search software. Online yellow pages are a type of business directory. The details provided in a business directory may vary. They may include the business name, addresses, telephone numbers, location, contact information, type of service or products the business provides, the number of employees, the served region and any professional associations. Some directories include a section for user reviews, comments, and feedback. — Wikipedia
World Wide Web Virtual Library was the first index of content on the World Wide Web and still operates as a directory of e-texts and information sources on the web. It was started by Tim Berners-Lee creator of HTML and the World Wide Web itself, in 1991 at CERN in Geneva. Unlike commercial index sites, it is run by a loose confederation of volunteers, who compile pages of key links for areas in which they are expert. It is sometimes informally referred to as the “WWWVL”, the “Virtual Library” or just “the VL”. — Wikipedia
The WWW virtual Library in 1996
Telephone directory, commonly called a telephone book, phone book, or the white and yellow pages, is a listing of telephone subscribers in a geographical area or subscribers to services provided by the organization that publishes the directory. Its purpose is to allow the telephone number of a subscriber identified by name and address to be found. The advent of the Internet and smartphones in the 21st century greatly reduced the need for a paper phone book. Some communities sought to ban their unsolicited distribution as wasteful, unwanted and harmful to the environment. — Wikipedia
Here are links to pages about closely related subjects.
3. At first glance, one might assume that Cosma is “just another” directory, or worse yet, a link farm. However, this would be a very inaccurate assumption. While it can serve some of the same purposes as a Web directory, its origin, purpose and method of production are quite different. Cosma even began before the World Wide Web was “invented” and link directories began to emerge in the late 1980s. Its closest relative and immediate predecessor was actually a project called the Purdue Knowledge System that was initially designed to be a career guidance system for Freshman students at Purdue University. It was created in HyperCard and then translated to Sun Microsystem’s HyperNews for UNIX workstations. A few years later the project was translated and posted on Gopher. Then it was only published on the Web as an afterthought, and at the time it was one of the first university wide sites and also one of the largest sites. The main difference between Cosma and the earlier Purdue Knowledge System is that Cosma is designed to serve more functions than just career guidance and do so in more subject areas than just those taught at Purdue University. All of that being said, it is the case that once Web directories began to appear in the mid-1990s, then the potential for Cosma to also serve a similar function was apparent. For awhile it even appeared that the World Wide Web Virtual Library might evolve to serve the same goal as Cosma, but eventually it became clear that wasn’t going to happen. Then, sadly, many of the best Web directories evaporated over the last few decades (e.g. Yahoo!, BUBLINK, Intute, Schrock’s Guide and KidsClick!). There’s plenty of talk about them being rendered irrelevant by Google and other search engines. Clearly, not everyone agrees with that sentiment. Commentary on why systematic inventories of knowledge are valuable could fill a book, and maybe someday it will, but first there’s that ongoing task of demonstrating the full potential of such things 😉