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Preferred Terms

Purpose of the List

The purpose of this list is two-fold. First, it was created to help editors decide on the appropriate terms to use when grouping sites that are related to one another by their form (e.g., Chat Rooms and Message Boards, News, Directories). This supports an DMOZ Guideline for choosing subcategory names:

"Where a category's resources are related to one another by their form (e.g., Chat Rooms and Message Boards, News sites, Directories), a good subcategory name usually uses the word that is used most frequently in other areas in pertinent top category."

This Preferred Term List saves the editor a significant amount of time and labor wading through categories to find the "most frequently" used term. It centralizes the most appropriate and frequently used terms for categories of sites that are grouped together based on their form. Secondly, this list was created to help editors interested in standardizing their subcategories to identify what terms need to be replaced and what terms to use as replacements.


How to Use the List

For each term, there is a "Preferred Term" listed in bold face. Underneath you'll see a brief description and information about the scope of the term. Below that, you'll see a list of "Use ___ instead of:" terms. These terms actually come from the directory, and although some might be outdated, they should give editors an idea of what type of terms need to be replaced. This means that if you are using any of these terms in your category, you are encouraged to change the category name to the Preferred term. Changes should be made in the appropriate Rename/Move/Delete/Sort Requests thread in each forum.

Also, remember the guideline which suggests that "Helpful subcategory names do not repeat the name of the parent category". Thus, when applying these preferred terms, it is generally best to avoid prefixing the preferred term with all or part of the parent category name. Thus, use Sports: Events rather than Sports/Sporting_Events.

Preferred Term

Scope: Description of scope.

Use Preferred Term instead of:

  • Term 1
  • Term 2
  • Term 3
  • Term 4

Maintaining the List

While staff has established this list, it is expected that the community will be responsible for its future growth, development and management. Admins will maintain that list in its current form, but changes will not be made without agreement from the community. Editors should start and maintain a running Ontology thread about the maintenance and development of this list. Admins will monitor the forum and update the list as necessary.


Enforcing the Use of Preferred Terms

While editors are not required to use the terms on this list for category names, they are highly recommended in order to create a consistent, predictable, and standardized taxonomy. Editors are encouraged to use this list, in the interest of uniform searching across the directory, but it's up to the editors as to when it's appropriate to use a variation of a term or phrase when that makes sense for a particular category. Category editors should consult top level, editall, meta, or even admin editors if they have a question about when a term is appropriate. Upper level editors should also promote the use of the Preferred Term list within their categories.

In addition, editors in some large Directory branches have agreed to use branch-specific preferred terms for their categories. In the case of disagreement between terms in this list and those in branch guidelines, editors are encouraged to use the branch specific term. For example, the Regional template uses Maps_and_Views and Guides_and_Directories rather than the terms in this list. It is recommended that editors become aware of any category naming conventions in areas where they edit.

Branch-specific Preferred Terms:


Term Index

Academic Departments

See Education


See News and Media

Chats and Forums

Scope: Use for groups of sites that include links for interactive, real-time online chat rooms, bulletin boards, discussion groups, and message boards.

See Also: Mailing Lists

Use Chats and Forums instead of:
  • BBS and Chats
  • Boards and Chats
  • Bulletin Boards and Chat Rooms
  • Chat Discussion
  • Chat Rooms
  • Chat Rooms IRC ICQ
  • Chat and Bulletin Boards
  • Chat and Discussion
  • Chat and Discussion Boards
  • Chat and Discussion Forums
  • Chat and Message Boards
  • Chat and Support
  • Chat and Support Groups
  • Chat, Discussion, ICQ
  • Chat, Lists, Etc.
  • Chat, Message Boards and Discussion Groups
  • Chat-Rooms
  • Chat-Zone
  • Chatrooms
  • Chats
  • Chats and Bulletin Boards
  • Chats and Discussion Forums
  • Chats and Discussions
  • Chats and Message Boards
  • Chats, Discussions, ICQ
  • Discussion
  • Discussion Boards
  • Discussion Forums
  • Discussion Groups
  • Discussion Groups and Forums
  • Discussion Lists
  • Discussion Lists and Forums
  • Discussion Sites
  • Discussion and Chat Groups
  • Email Discussion Hosts
  • Forums
  • Forums and Chats
  • Forums and Discussions
  • Message Boards and Chat Rooms
  • Message Boards, Chat Rooms and Mailing Lists
  • Networking and Chat
  • Newsgroups and Forums
  • On-line Chat
  • Online Chat
  • Online Discussion
  • Online Discussion Groups
  • Online Issues Discussions
  • Real-time chat
  • Support Groups and Chatting
  • Web Discussion Boards
  • Webchat


Scope: Use for formal and informal conferences, meetings, trade shows, workshops, and associated events. Use Events for sporting, social recreational, or entertainment gatherings only.

See Also: Events

Use Conferences instead of:
  • Conferences
  • Conferences and Conventions
  • Conferences and Exhibitions
  • Conferences and Meetings
  • Conferences and Retreats
  • Conferences and Trade Shows
  • Conferences and Workshops
  • Conventions
  • Events and Workshops
  • Industry Events
  • Networking - Events - Conferences
  • Trade Shows


Scope: Use for sites containing alphabetical or classified lists of resources covering a particular subject area. Directories is used in place of Guides for sites which provide a straight list of sites, sometimes with a brief description and not, generally, including additional information.

See Also: Guides | Resources | Search Engines

Use Directories instead of:
  • Directories and Links Collections
  • Directories and Lists
  • Directories and Portals
  • Directories-n-Resources
  • Free Searchable Links
  • General Directories and Links
  • General Info-Resources
  • General Links
  • Indexes and Directories
  • Indexes-Links
  • Internet Directories and Portals
  • Internet Gateways
  • Link Collections and Pointers
  • Link Lists
  • Link Pages
  • Link Sites
  • Links
  • Links Pages
  • Links and Portals
  • Links and Resources
  • Lists of Sites
  • News Indexes
  • Online Directories
  • Portal Sites
  • Portals
  • Portals, Directories, and Guides
  • Portals, Resources, Links
  • Resource and Link Sites
  • Resources, Educational, Link Lists
  • Search Engines and Web Directories
  • Search Engines, Directories and Links
  • Statewide Directories
  • Web Directories
  • Web Directories and Indices
  • Web Directories and Search Engines
  • Web Directory
  • Web Indexes
  • Web Links
  • Web Portals
  • Weblinks
  • Webportals


Scope: Use as a broad term covering all educational aspects of a topical area, including lists of schools, curricula, courses, syllabi; as well as sites intended for students. The narrower term may be used as a subcategory or it may stand alone. If they are stand alone categories there should not be an Education category.

Use Education instead of:
  • Academia
  • Education Courses
  • Education and Academia
  • Education and Instruction
  • Education and Language Schools
  • Education and Learning
  • Education and Research
  • Education and Schools
  • Education and Training
  • Institutes and Schools
  • Instruction and Education
  • Learning, Education and Training
  • Schools and Education
  • Training and Academic Programs
  • Training and Education

Academic Departments

Scope: Use for lists of Academic departments.

Use Academic Departments instead of:
  • Academia

    Schools and Instruction

    Scope: Use for lists of schools; as well as training and instructional programs in applied and non-academic areas. Schools and Instruction can be a stand alone category or it may be a subcategory under Education.

    Use Schools and Instruction instead of:
    • Courses and Schools
    • Major Schools
    • Schools
    • Schools and Training Centers
    • Schools and Training Institutions
    • Training
    • Training and Schools


    Scope: Use to list all career and employment sites for the topical area, including job listings.

    Use Employment instead of:
    • Careers
    • Employment Opportunities
    • Employment Resources
    • Jobs
    • Jobs and Positions
    • Jobs and Work Related
    • Jobs, Recruiting and Employment Services


    Scope: Use for sporting, social, recreational, or entertainment gatherings only. For organized meetings, Use Conferences.

    See Also: Conferences

    Use Events instead of:
    • Concerts and Events
    • Events and Festivals
    • Festivals and Events
    • Major Events

    FAQs, Help, and Tutorials

    Scope: Includes collections of FAQ, Help and Tutorial sites on a particular topic.

    Use FAQs, Help, and Tutorials instead of:
    • Best Practice, Handbooks, Models, How-To's, Tips and FAQs
    • FAQ
    • FAQs HOWTOs and DOCs
    • FAQs and Cheats
    • FAQs and Information
    • FAQs and Tutorials
    • Frequently Asked Questions
    • Help
    • Help and Tips for Beginners
    • Help and Tutorials
    • Help n' Tips
    • HowTos and Tutorials
    • Interviews and FAQs
    • Introductory Sites and FAQs
    • Science and Technology FAQs
    • Tips and Tutorials
    • Tutorials and FAQs

    Fan Art

    See Fan Works

    Fan Fiction

    See Fan Works

    Fan Pages

    Scope: Use for sites that were created by and for enthusiasts of a particular topic, person, organization, etc.

    See Also: Fan Works

    Use Fan Pages instead of:
    • Fan Clubs
    • Fan Clubs and Zines
    • Fan Sites
    • Fan Tributes
    • Fan and Tribute Pages
    • Fansubs
    • Fanzines
    • General Fan Pages
    • Miscellaneous Fan Pages

    Fan Works

    Scope: Use as an umbrella category, which may include the narrower terms as subcategories. Fan Fiction and Fan Art can also stand on their own as categories if Fan Works is not being used.

    Use Fan Works instead of:
    • Fan Art
    • Fan Fiction


      Scope: Use for web sites that provide guiding information on a subject or about a place, example, travel, dining, buyer's, price, etc. Guides is used in place of Directories when the sites in the categories provide information beyond a simple listing and description. For example, a travel guide would include information on the best places to go in a location in addition to links.

      See Also: Directories

      Use Guides instead of:
      • Activity Guides
      • Buyer's Guides
      • Buyers Guides
      • City Guides
      • Content Guides
      • Country Guides
      • Dining Guides
      • Directories and Guides
      • Episode Guides
      • General Guides
      • Guidebooks
      • Guides and Directories
      • Guides and Indices
      • Guides, Tutorials, and Documentation
      • Hotel Guides
      • Major Guides
      • Online Guides
      • Price Guides
      • Regional Guides
      • State Guides
      • Theme Park Guides
      • Tourist Guides
      • Travel Guides
      • Travel Guides and Directories
      • Web Guide
      • Web Portals and Guides


      Scope: Use for sites which provide historical information on a topic.

      Use History instead of:
      • Historic
      • Historical
      • Historical Incidents

      Image Galleries

      Scope: Sites which are only or predominantly pictures and images. Often used in Celebrity categories.

      Use Image Galleries instead of:
      • Pics
      • Pictures
      • Pictures Galleries

      Internet Service Providers

      Scope: Use for categories that list Internet Service Providers.

      Use Internet Service Providers instead of:
      • ISP
      • ISPs


        See News and Media

        Magazines and E-zines

        See News and Media

        Mailing Lists

        Scope: Use for sites about electronic discussion groups whose communications are transmitted over email.

        See Also: Chats and Forums

        Use Mailing Lists instead of:
        • E-mail Lists
        • Email Lists and Newsgroups
        • Lists and Newsletters
        • Listserv
        • Listservs
        • Mailing List
        • Mailing Lists and E-Mail Newsletters


        Scope: Used to classify sites that contain maps of places.

        Use Maps instead of:
        • Atlas
        • Atlases
        • Directions and Maps
        • Map
        • Maps and Directions

        News and Media

        Scope: Use as an umbrella category for news services, newspapers, books, magazines and e-zines, and journals. The narrower terms may be used as subcategories or may be stand alone categories. If they stand alone, there should be no News and Media category.

        See Also: Journals | Magazines and E-zines | Research | Reviews

        Use News and Media instead of:
        • News
        • Publications and Media


          Scope: For collections of listings which are, in general, single non-scientific articles (as opposed to large sites). Articles which focus on reviewing a product or service belong in a Reviews category. Collections of scientific articles fall under either Research or Journals categories.

          See Also: Journals | Magazines and E-zines | Research | Reviews

          Use Articles instead of:
          • Articles and Essays
          • Articles and Interviews
          • Articles and Papers
          • Articles and Reports
          • Columns and Articles
          • Essays
          • Essays and Articles
          • Online Articles


          Scope: Regularly issued scholarly publications that deal with a particular subject or professional activity. Can be placed at the same level as News and Media if the editor prefers. Use Magazines and E-zines for non-scholarly publications.

          Use Journals instead of:
          • Academic Journals
          • Books, Magazines and Journals
          • Full text journals
          • Journals and Forums
          • Journals and Preprints
          • Journals and Publishers
          • Newsletters-Journals-Magazines
          • Publications and Journals
          • Search engines, journals, links, descriptions etc.

          Magazines and E-zines

          Scope: Regularly issued publications containing articles and illustrations, typically covering a particular subject or area of interest. Use Journals for professional and scholarly periodicals.

          Use Magazines and E-zines instead of:
          • Books and Magazines
          • Books, Magazines and Articles
          • Clips and Magazines
          • E-zines
          • E-zines and Magazines
          • Magazines
          • Magazines - Online and Paper
          • Magazines and Periodicals
          • Magazines, Newsletters, and E-Zines
          • News and Magazines
          • Newsletters
          • Newspapers and Magazines
          • Newspapers, Magazines, Newsletters, Etc.
          • Periodicals and Magazines
          • Publications and Magazines
          • Trade Magazines
          • Zines
          • Zines and Magazines


          Scope: Use for sites offering online versions of newspapers or information about print versions.

          Use Newspapers instead of:
          • Press


            See News and Media

            Opposing Views

            Scope: Used for collections of sites which offer alternative or contrary opinions to those in another ODP category.

            Use Opposing Views instead of:
            • Alternative Approaches
            • Alternative Views
            • Alternatives
            • Competing Views
            • Competition


            Scope: Either of the above terms may be used depending on the types of sites the category contains. Organizations are generally any organized body of people such as the Boy Scouts. Associations are used more in industry. Use to classify sites for organizations, associations, clubs, and any other organized body of people with a particular purpose, especially a business, government department or charity.

            Use Organizations instead of:
            • Associations and Clubs
            • Associations and Events
            • Clubs + Groups
            • Clubs and Associations
            • Clubs and Groups
            • Clubs and Organizations
            • Clubs and Societies
            • Conventions and Organisations
            • Conventions and Organizations
            • Organisations
            • Organisations and Clubs
            • Organizations and Clubs
            • Societies
            • Societies and Clubs
            • State and Local Associations and Clubs

            Personal Pages

            Scope: Collection of web pages about an individual or group and their interests.

            Use Personal Pages instead of:
            • Home Page
            • Home Pages
            • Homepage
            • Homepages
            • Personal Collections
            • Personal Home pages
            • Personal Homepages
            • Personal Page
            • Personal Pages
            • Personal Scrapbooking Sites
            • Personal Sites
            • Personal Web Pages
            • Personal Web Sites
            • Personal Webpages
            • Personal Websites


            Scope: Use only for sites containing audio files and resources that pertain to the parent category. Use as subcategory for commercial sites selling audio recordings.

            Use Recordings instead of:
            • Audio Books
            • Audio Files
            • Audio Readings
            • Audio Recordings
            • Audio Resources
            • Audiorecordings
            • Sound Recordings
            • Soundrecordings


            Scope: Use for sites which present research results, or describe formal research programs or organizations. Organizations/departments which offer educational programs are better listed under Education or Academic Departments.

            Use Research instead of:
            • Articles and Research
            • Projects and Research
            • Research Centers
            • Research Centers and Laboratories
            • Research Councils
            • Research Groups
            • Research Institutes
            • Research Organizations
            • Research Papers
            • Research Programs
            • Research Projects
            • Research and Academia
            • Research and Development
            • Research and Laboratories
            • Research and Reports
            • Theory and Research


            Scope: Use to classify sites whose purpose is to provide a comprehensive overview of a particular subject area. Resource sites typically include general information about a topic, and provide directories, FAQs, chats and forums, publications etc. Generally, the sites that could be placed in a Resources category should reside at the top level. A Resources category should only be created if there is a significant number of sites to list and there is a compelling reason to do so, for example, a top level category. In general, most categories will not need a Resources subcategory as the general sites *should* be at the top level.

            See Also: Directories | Guides

            Use Resources instead of:
            • Comprehensive Overviews
            • General Overviews


              Scope: Used for sites giving product, movie, television, music, literary, and theatrical reviews and evaluations.

              Use Reviews instead of:
              • Articles and Reviews
              • Book Reviews
              • Comparative Reviews
              • News and Reviews
              • On-line Reviews
              • Online Reviews
              • Reviews and Articles
              • Reviews and Criticism
              • Technical Evaluations and Product Reviews

              Schools and Instruction

              See Education

              Search Engines

              Scope: Used for sites that offer a subject specific search engine. This category should be used for sites where the primary focus is to search the internet broadly (e.g. Aol Search) for a particular topic as opposed to being a Directory of sites.

              See Also: Directory

              Use Search Engines instead of:
              • Online Search
              • Internet Search
              • Search Sites
              • Web Search


              Scope: Use for sites which offer software in any of its forms, whether it be compiled programs, source code, scripts, machine code, etc.

              Use Software instead of:
              • Desktop Software
              • Scripts
              • Scripts and Programs
              • Software Solutions
              • Software and Applications
              • Software and Computer Control
              • Software and Scripts
              • Software and Tools
              • Software for Collectors


              Scope: Use as an umbrella category for collections of travel resources, including travel agents, tour operators, and other travel providers; lodging; travel advice; travelogues; or other resources.

              Use Travel instead of:
              • Adventures
              • Touring
              • Tourism
              • Tours
              • Travel Programs
              • Travel and Adventure
              • Travel and Tourism
              • Travel and Tours
              • Vacations
              • Vacations and Touring


              Scope: Used for sites that offer topical trivia.

              Use Trivia instead of:
              • Information and Trivia
              • Trivia and Word Games

                Web Rings

                Scope: Used for sites that represent collections of related web sites.

                Use Web Rings instead of:
                • BBS Web Rings
                • BBS Webrings
                • Webrings


                Scope: Use for sites displaying live video through cameras which are connected to the web.

                Use Webcams instead of:
                • Cameras
                • Cams
                • Online Cameras
                • Web Cameras
                • Web Cams