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A search engine is a searchable database of Internet files collected by a computer program (called a crawler, robot, worm, spider). Indexing is created from the collected files, e.g., title, full text, size, URL, etc. There is no selection criteria for the collection of files, though evaluation can be applied to ranking schemes that return the results of a query.
A subject directory is a service that offers a collection of links to Internet resources submitted by site creators or evaluators and organized into subject categories. Directory services use selection criteria for choosing links to include, though the selectivity varies among services. Most directories are searchable.
A subject gateway in the context of network-based resource access, can be defined as some facility that allows easier access to network-based resources in a defined subject area. The simplest types of subject gateways are sets of Web pages containing lists of links to resources.
Subject gateways are also known as subject-based information gateways (SBIGs), subject-based gateways, subject index gateways, virtual libraries, clearing houses, subject trees, pathfinders and other variations thereof.