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A provision in a statute, rule of procedure, or the like, that is a mere direction or instruction of no obligatory force and involves no invalidating consequence for its disregard, as opposed to an imperative or mandatory provision, which must be followed. The general rule is that the prescriptions of a statute relating to the performance of a public duty are so far directory that, though neglect of them may be punishable, it does not affect the validity of the acts done under them, as in the case of a statute requiring an officer to prepare and deliver a document to another officer on or before a certain day.

Generally, statutory provisions that do not relate to the essence of a thing to be done, and as to which compliance is a matter of convenience rather than of substance, are directory, while provisions that relate to the essence of a thing to be done, that is, matters of substance, are mandatory.

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

DIRECTORY. That which points out a thing or course of proceeding; for example, a directory law.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
References in periodicals archive ?
The "Dealing with Directories" panelists included Ed Boudrout of Ask Jeeves, John Roberts of NBCi (Snap), Kate Wingerson of LookSmart, Chris Tolles of the Open Directory Project, and Liz Streng of Yahoo!.
Google's new Web directory ( combines its sophisticated search technology with data from Netscape's Open Directory Project (ODP) to form a hybrid service that's uniquely broad and deep.
Clearly, the Open Directory Project (ODP) has become the most important directory in recent months.
Oingo currently indexes the entire Netscape Open Directory Project (ODP), which also serves as the basic directory for a number of other search engines.
Alexa can also show matches from the Open Directory project, most of the time.

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