The need for effective directories of networked information resources becomes more critical as these resources—online library catalogs, file archives, online journal article repositories, and information servers—proliferate, and as demand grows for intelligent tools to navigate and use such information resources. The existing approaches are based primarily on print‐oriented directories, but print‐oriented directories will not scale to support the future services that will help network users navigate tens of thousands of resources. The paper first explores the “user” perspective in various usage scenarios for employing a database of descriptive information to navigate or access networked information resources. It then considers specific data elements that will be required in a description of these networked information resources. Classification of networked information resources will ultimately rely on large‐scale prototypes, coupled with a new generation of advanced information‐seeking tools, and within the reality of economics.
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