Evaluating Websites When evaluating websites, remember to ask yourself: Who, what, when, where, why & how? This is the tried and true formula used by police, journalists, and researchers – Who, What, When, Where & Why – which can be applied in cyberspace to help identify credible online information sources. Ask yourself: Has someone taken responsibility for the content of this Web site? Is information about the author or organization clearly stated? Are there any links to in-depth information about the author or organization? Can you contact the company or author through a real world postal address or phone number? Can you confirm that the company or author is a credible, authoritative source of information? Is the information biased in any way? Is emotion used as a means of persuasion? Does the site offer more than one viewpoint? Does the site's information seem thorough and well organized? Does the site clearly state the topics it intends to address? Is the information well written and easy to understand? Does the site offer a list of further in-depth resources or links to such resources? Is it important that the information you’re looking for be absolutely current? Is a reference date provided to show when the material was put online, or when it was last updated? Do the links work? Outdated links may be inactive now. .gov websites .gov, .ca, .uk, etc applies to federal, provincial departments. This is the country code. .edu websites University and college programs (most Canadian universities tend to use .ca) .com, .org, .net In the early days of the Web, .org indicated a wide assortment of groups, including non-profit organizations; now you must evaluate these sites to ensure credibility Before you explore what’s out in cyberspace, it's a good idea to stop and consider whether or not the Internet is the best place to start. Ask yourself: Can I get the information faster offline? Does the online material I'm finding suit my needs? Perhaps you should try using a library print/electronic resource or database instead? Searching for print resources in the library? Click on library catalogue (purple book with yellow question mark – icon) Type in your general search term Determine whether fiction or non-fiction Check availability Understand where to locate the resource * remember a general book may contain specific information related to your topic – check the index and table of contents * You must have a student card to sign-out books What is a library database? A website that requires a paid subscription in order to access information. Contains information from published works such as articles from magazines or encyclopedias. Can be used to search for titles, authors, magazines, dates, etc. Often give you access to full-text articles that can be printed or e-mailed. How is a database different from a website? Library Databases Websites Get their information from Can be written by anyone professionals or experts in the field. regardless of expertise. Contain published works where Content is not necessarily checked facts are checked. by anyone, expert or not. Easy to cite in a bibliography and Don't provide the information may create the citation for you. necessary to create a complete Help you narrow down your topic or citation. suggest related subjects. Aren't often organized to support Updated frequently and include the student research needs. date of publication. May not contain current information Available to anyone using a or indicate when a page is updated. computer in a library that subscribes Available to anyone with an internet to databases or any library connection inside or outside the cardholder using a computer outside library. the library. How do I access the databases in the SLSS Library? From school: Click on Library catalogue icon Select Digital Library, Online Reference Select Infotrak, Grolier, Canadian Reference Center, Student Research Centre, Teen Health & Wellness (explore as many databases you’d like) From Home: From SLSS website, click on Departments/Library/Research Select Library Catalogue – follow same instructions above Find the required usernames and passwords on the laminated bookmarks at circulation desk – they’re free! Remember: You can also try the public library and have books transferred to the closest library to your home within days! And always remember … A good resource does not hide its identity from the user. Good luck with your research! If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask Ms. Devani or Ms. Budak- Gosse for further assistance.
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