How to be a Cybersmart in higher education level

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					How to be a Cybersmart in higher education level?

Although we have accountable online resources available at the library website, it’s
easier for the students Googling for their literature search needs. In this case, I
decided to dome up with a checklist for evaluating web-pages that assist students
having a general idea when they are searching for information online.

Evaluating web-pages requires to do two things:
   • Train the eye and fingers to employ a series of techniques that help us find
      what we need to know about a web-page.
   • Learn to think critically by asking a series of questions that help us to decide
      how much we can trust on a web-page.

We can combine these two techniques when we are looking for information in a search
engine by investigating the content of the page, and even sometimes extend beyond
the page to find out what others may say about that page or it’s author(s).

The following questions are based on a tutorial created by Joe Barker in teaching
library of UC Berkeley.

Questions to ask web search results

What is it at stake? How reliable does the information have to be?
  • Good enough
  • Involves money, law, health
  • Acceptable to my instructor

What can the URLs tell you, in the search result list?
  • Who published it? Look at the URL up to first /
  • Is it a personal page? Look for ~ members aol geocities users
  • What type of organization is behind it? Would limiting to certain types help?
  • org OR gov.
  • non-profit (org), universities/colleges (edu) government (gov, mil, us) business
      (com), foreign (uk, jp, etc)

What can the perimeter of the page tell us?

   •   Who or what agency is the author?
   •   What values do they stand for?
   •   What are their credentials? What right to offer an opinion? Why believe
   •   What is their bias? About us, sponsors, philosophy , biography, who am I, no
       background Info
   •   Is it current/ recent enough? Last updated date old, date in a new site too old,
       date in URL may help or no date at all?

Does the content appear good quality?

   •   Are sources documented in footnotes, or links outside that work?
   •   Links to more information? Any dead links?
   •   Links to other points of view?
   •   Black/ violet background or other evidence of hype/trash/ranting?

What do others say about the page?
  • Who links to it? Who owns it? Paste the URL into
  • Google the author’s name and see what company we are in.

Why was it put on the web? What is the purpose of the page?

   •   Inform with facts/data
   •   Share/disclose
   •   Entice/sell
   •   Explain/persuade

Other search engines for second opinions:

Try in subject directories-smaller, chosen by humans, not computer
   • Infomine (
   • Librarians’internet index (
   • Google directory (


   1. Go to google and perform a search on “stem cell” abortion
   2. Use the checklist to evaluate some of the search results systematically.

   1. Look at the URL:
         a. Personal page or site?
         b. What type of domain is it?
         c. Is the content appropriate
   2. Scan the primeter of page, looking for answers to these questions:
         a. Who wrote the page?
         b. Dated?
         c. Credentials on the subject?
   3. Look for these indicators of quality
         a. Sources well documented?
         b. Complete? If second hand information, is it not altered or forged?
         c. Links to more resources? Do they work?

   4. What do others say?
         a. Who links to it?
         b. Is the page rated well in a directory
         c. Look up the author in google
   5. Does it all add up?
         a. Why was the page put out on the web?
         b. Possibly ironic? Satire or parody?

Bottom line: Is the webpage as good as (or better) than what we could find in an
online resource at library website that is not available in full-text but can be filled
through interlibrary loan department?

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