Untangling the Web: Making Sense of Online Sources


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A brief slide show teaching online users how to evaluate sources using simple tools. Created as a supplement for a unit plan on evaluating online sources for a course in instruction design for information professionals at San Jose State University, SLIS Spring 2012.

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Untangling the Web: Making Sense of Online Sources

  1. 1. Untangling the Web:Making Sense of Online Sources A Users Guide to (Smarter ) Online Searching
  2. 2. Whats in a (domain) name?.com Generic domain name (originally intended for commercial organizations).edu Educational site only for accredited post-secondary educational organizations.gov Content owned by the government.net Generic domain name, no distinction from .com (originally intended for websites associated with network technologies).org Generic domain name, no distinction from .com (originally intended for non-profit organizations)
  3. 3. Where to Start?Lets conduct a simple Google search on...
  4. 4. Lets Take a Closer Look...Top Results:1. Paid Ad:-barackobama.com2. Official Site:-barackobama.com3. Barack Obama News:-”First Female President”???4. Wikipedia Entry
  5. 5. Is the First Site Always the Best Site?Barackobama.com-Is this site appropriate if I were searching for biographical information?-Political information?-Past speeches?Use caution when selecting the number one site from your search results. Just because its the first site, doesnt mean it will give you the information you are seeking...
  6. 6. Wikipedia.comHistory-Look for how many times the page has been edited-Scan the content for information that actually makes sense-Scroll down and take a look at the notes, references, and external links. See how many are .org, .gov and .com-Find the “last revised” date.Does it seem like a credible site?
  7. 7. Whats IPL.ORG?IPL.ORG is a website designed by reference librarians to assist online user in finding relevant information.
  8. 8. How to search IPL.ORGIPL has a variety of resources for users of all ages. They have recommended sources for children and teens, as seen here------->
  9. 9. Searching for information by subject...Lets continue our research on Barack Obama and look for biographical information.Look at the “Special Collections” link. Theres an entire section on presidents!
  10. 10. Evaluating IPL.ORGIts good practice to use your website evaluation tools even with recommended sites, like this one.Lets take a look at the information, references and copyright date...
  11. 11. Lets review the evaluation tools...Whether conducting a Look for these things: Google, Wikipedia or - the type of domain name: librarian recommended search, be sure to use .com, .net, .edu., .gov your evaluation tools to -author/organizations inspect the site for name perspective, bias, - whos responsible for the content? authority and content! -copyright, revision date -Does the information sound right? Can you tell there is an obvious bias to the content? Are resources and references listed?
  12. 12. Go forth and untangle the web!