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					Separating the Wheat from the
            Chaff:




    Evaluating Web Resources
       Sharon S. Chadwick
Science Librarian & Library WebSpinner
   Humboldt State University Library
           Arcata CA 95521
             phone: x4955

     email: ssc1@humboldt.edu
It was the best of times,
it was the worst of times,
it was the age of wisdom,
it was the age of foolishness…

   A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
                   (1859)
"Everybody gets so much information
all day long that they lose their
common sense."

     Gertude Stein
     (untitled essay, 1946)
Misinformation has always been
           around...
A more recent
example of
misinformation
appeared on
November 8, 2000
No matter what tool you
use to get information,
you should be aware
of the limitations and
advantages of that
particular tool...
Remember the Five W’s of
Writing?
               • Who?
               • What?
               • Where?
               • When?
               • Why?
The Five W’s May be Applied When
Evaluating Web Resources
WHO


      Who’s on first?
Question Authority!!
  Ask Yourself:
• Who is the author of the web
  page/site? Is it easy to determine?
• Are the following available for the
  author?
  –   credentials
  –   affiliation
  –   reputation
  –   biographical info
  –   email address or other contact info
               Who?
      Ask Yourself (continued)
• Is the author easily identifiable?
• Did you get here from a site that you
  trust?
• With what type of institution is the site
  affiliated?
  – Look at the domain name for .edu, .gov,
    .org, etc. Be suspicious of .com sites.
  – Domain Name Registries Around the World
    http://www.uninett.no/navn/domreg.html
WHAT?
                     What...
• Is the purpose of the site
  or page?
   – Is it to inform, entertain,
     influence, provide current
     awareness, advertise, or
     ????
• Is the objectivity? Is
  there bias?
• Is the coverage?
• Is the intended
  audience?
   WHERE




Where’s the Beef?
                Where...
• Are you? Dissect the URL if unsure.
• Does the information come from? Is it
  accurate?
• Are the citations to the origin of the
  information?
• Are the links to related web sites?
• Is the bibliography or list of references?
• Can the information be corroborated
  and/or confirmed?
When??
               When….
•   Was the web page/site created?
•   Was the web page/site last updated?
•   Were the links checked?
•   Were the dead links last removed?
•   Is the site or page regularly updated?
•   Does the site/page maintainer respond
    to suggestions & corrections?
Why…
  • Is this site/page
    unique? Should I
    look elsewhere?
  • Is this site/page
    relevant?
  • Was this document
    produced? What is
    its purpose?
  • Is there a sponsor
    for the page?
The Sixth Question to Ask:


        How?
                How...
• Reliable is accessibility to the site/page?
• Is the site/page organized?
• Graphic-intensive is the site/page? Are
  the graphics necessary?
• Easy is it to use and navigate about the
  site/page?
• Are hyperlinks presented?
• Long does it take to load the page?
The Human Touch
    Subject catalogs and directories
      Yahoo http://www.yahoo.com
    Rating & Reviewing Services
      Encyclopedia Britannica Internet
        Guide
      http://library.humboldt.edu/infoservices/restricted/
         encbrit.cgi (HSU faculty, students, staff)


               OR
      http://www.britannica.com/
         (general public)
 Gateway Services and Virtual Libraries
• Developed by librarians and/or subject experts to
  point to high-quality web sites
   – Argus Clearinghouse
     http://www.clearinghouse.net
   – Librarian’s Index to the Internet http://lii.org/
   – The Scout Report
     http://wwwscout.cs.wisc.edu/index.html
   – Infomine: Scholarly Internet Resource
     Collections http://infomine.ucr.edu/
   – Internet Public Library http://www.ipl.org

				
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posted:7/23/2012
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