Focus Multimedia – The Hutchinson Directory of Web Sites review

a CD-based Web search engine
Photo of Focus Multimedia – The Hutchinson Directory of Web Sites
£9.99

Search engines. They’re great things, at least in theory, but how many times have you typed something in and then sighed at the results? It’s either 4,000 possible matches which you then have to trawl through, or two matches which both sound about as relevant as the following word does to this ending of this paragraph: blimsop. Actually, that’s quite punchy.

With this in mind, the good people at Hutchinson, makers of many famous pieces of multimedia, had a bright idea – to take the pain out of the search process. Why not package a bundle of pre-checked, bound-to-be-relevant links under a number of categories on a CD?

Which is just what the Hutchinson Directory of Web Sites is. The categories you can search under are pretty generalised, and there are 14 of them. From Medicine & Health, Science, to Music & Dance, Society, Politics and Computing, the broad main category headings contain a range of sub-topics to further narrow down your search, and every sub topic contains a screen full of links.

In theory, these links are all top quality Web sites. In practice, yes they are always relevant to the subject, but they’re not always up to scratch quality-wise. Some links are fairly tenuous, and give the impression of being ‘filler’ material.

But these are the minority, and it’s not fair to criticise the program too much in this respect, as many of the links are excellent. Moreover, many of the listed pages provide more links to other relevant Web sites, so effectively you’ve got more material than the 6,000 sites listed on the CD.

As a general launching pad for search material, this is certainly a much less painful way of browsing the Web than sifting through some lengthy online search engine listing. But finding specific material using the Hutchinson Directory obviously won’t be easy.

Company: Focus Multimedia

Contact: 01889 570156


Verdict
As long as you're not after too specifically-targeted search material, the Web Directory works rather nicely. It's not an expensive product either, being part of the Focus budget range, so overall it's well worth a look if you could use a decent source of medium to high quality generalised Web links, or a stepping stone past the initial, tedious, online search process.