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How To Evaluate Web Based Information Resources



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  • 1. How to evaluate web based Information Resources M K Prasanna, Information Officer, Motorola [email_address] Academic Staff College, Osmania University, Hyderabad 24 Sept 08
  • 2. Objective & Agenda
    • Explore Web- based info. resources
    • Understand importance of evaluating WWW Info Resources
    • Explore each criteria for evaluation
      • How you will use this knowledge
      • How you can improve Information Literacy
  • 3. World Wide Web
    • The World Wide Web ("WWW" or simply the " Web ") is a global information medium which users can read and write via computers connected to the Internet.
    • WWW resources are very popular. This is because of the visual, familiar and user-friendly access mechanism of the Web Browsers.
  • 4. Variety of Web based resources
    • Some examples are:
    • ftp archive / database of genetic code of stem cells
    • digital library of UNICEF related documents,
    • e-journal of Macroeconomics,
    • childrens’ e-workbook,
    • BSNL telephone directory,
    • Website of Turkish History,
    • E-learning portal (Voice of America Webcasts on learning English),
    • online bookstore like, http:// ; ICICIdirect online trading portal;
    • virtual exhibitions -
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  • 21.
    • http:// / search engine & Directory is meant for Aviation professionals and includes a classified section for Sale & lease of aircrafts and even a couple of Real-time Flight Trackers.
    • http://www.CasePlace.Org is an example of a complete library in a niche area of business education materials. It is useful for teachers, students, practicing managers and also includes a forum for discussion on cases and pedagogy of case study.
    • Dubaiezguide at has an interactive map of Dubai and “Quick Search & Locate” facility on top of the map allows the user to search for places of interest, restaurants, communities, street names and reuse the same map for the next search by ‘Clear’ing it. Similarly, = geneva shows panoramic view of various cities and streets within them.
  • 22. Some more…
    • Wikipedia
    • Directory of journals:
    • Teachertube
    • VisibleBody
    • Project Gutenburg
    • DOAJ
    • Census of India
    • Live Homework Help
  • 23.  
  • 25. Dissertations; OPACS
    • Dissertations search- citations free for last 2 yrs for academic users-
    • Browse previews of dissertations from 1996 by institution-
    • The Library of Congress catalog -
    • Worlcat
  • 26. WWW resources for communication
    • Mailinglist / Listserv
    • New Millennium Library & Information Science Professionals’ -
    • a group of professionals with similar interest can communicate with each other
    • to disseminate information about LIS events, issues; and have discussions with fellow-librarians in India and abroad
    • When a member sends the mail to group address, it is sent to all the members
    • email to
    • BLOGS
  • 27.
  • 28. Web based information resources
    • 1. E-Journals- and their collections
    • 2. E-Books- and their collections
    • 3. Company/ Association Websites
    • 4. News portals
    • 5. Databases
    • 6. E-learning/ online events/ web casts/ Pod casts
    • 7. E-Groups/ mailing lists
    • 8. Web logs
    • 9. Search Engines
    • 10. FAQs
    • 11. Digital Library/Archives
    • 13. Library Networks, including, Union catalogues
    • 16. Virtual Help Desks/ Virtual Reference Desks
  • 29. Please use every opportunity to discuss about the use of Internet, possibilities, challenges & other issues. We encourage each of you to contribute to Internet resources in the spirit of freedom of knowledge and sharing of resources.
  • 30. Merits
    • Users can use the same e-resources at the same time at any place
    • E-resources can be easily copied, stored and disseminated. No longer face space constraints, geographical constraints and transfer constraints.
    • E-resources are easy to revise, update, manipulate and merge. Authors and publishers can maintain the resource in the most up to date form easily
    • Speedy delivery. Logistics for transferring e-resources is minimal.
    • Add value to services. Libraries can easily consolidate, rearrange and add value to develop new information products according to user needs.
    • E-collections save user’s time in access and reuse of information.
  • 31. Merits
    • Global reach –created in one part of the world is easily accessible in other parts .
    • Generate satisfaction among users
    • Buying and selling of e-collections is available on WWW has resulted in reduction in time taken to obtain access.
    • Promote Interaction with remote users. Most resources contain mechanisms for users to send feedback , comments, additional information, and so on. This has empowered users. Web2.0 is transforming such interaction mechanisms, each day.
    • On-line users tracking helps authors and publishers get valuable feedback on content, presentation, suggestions, updations to enhance their products.
  • 32. Demerits
    • Having access to computers & Internet
    • Computer & Internet Literacy- Being able to use computers and the Internet and other tools effectively needs training. Even heavy users of these resources may not be aware of the gaps in their information literacy.
    • Often limited to materials from a single content provider. Users have to use multiple resources; with multiple interfaces, from multiple publishers to get all the information required by them. This is not helpful.
    • Information overload
    • Varied information quality- there is a lot of vanity publishing, promotional information, inaccurate information, poor presentation. Producers do not use principles of information design, e-resource design, user interface design. This affects the usability of e-resources from the users point of view.
  • 33. Ebooks
    • Although users were enthusiastic about Ebooks, Librarians had several concerns with e-book publishing.
    • Current ebook readers have not yet matured, and any device that users purchase must be capable of accessing content from many publishers and in many formats.
    • Simply repurposing existing printed books as e-books; the need to add value to the reading experience and how books could be redesigned to do so, and rights management and control issues.
    • “ If searchability, linking, and currency are highly important and text is in short, discrete segments, e-books may be a useful solution. Such categories of books include: indexes, encyclopedias, almanacs, gazetteers, technical manuals, handbooks (e.g., PDR, Merck Index, CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics).
  • 34. Why evaluate
    • Electronic resources require even more close evaluation of quality than print resources. As library professionals, it is our job to help our users find information written by experts and eliminate information posted by non-experts.
    • LIS professionals can provide reliable, professional assistance in evaluating the quality of information.
  • 35. Uses of Evaluation
    • Bibliographic control
    • Selection for localized collections
    • Subject repositories
    • Quality conciousness for users
    • Quality conciousness for publishers
  • 36. Librarian can play a role
    • Each individual user spends a lot of time exploring web-based information resources.
    • It is appropriate that the Librarian evaluate these resources and present the evaluated resources to the users either in the form of “Useful Links” or Elibraries of downloaded information.
  • 37. Some preliminary screening
    • Purpose
    • Type of resource
  • 38. Criteria
    • ACCESS
    • AuthorPublisher
    • Authors' credentials
    • Publishers' credentials/ peer reviewed
    • Frequency of updation
    • Yrs covered
    • Last Updated
    • Alternate formats
    • Owner details
    • Owner contactable
    • Copyright statement
  • 40. User Interface
    • Info organization 
    • Consistency 
    • Clarity 
    • Layout
    • Font & Color
    • AbbeviationsIcons & Symbols
    • Screen window
    • Scrolling
    • Graphics-Text balance
    •   Highlighting 
    • Query capability 
    • Other inputs/ feedback 
    • Online help 
    • Context sensitive help 
    • System messaging 
    • Tutorial Demo Glossary 
    • Offline help 
    • Intuitive/ Following standard schema/ norms
    • Selfexplanatory 
    • Special hardware 
    • Special software 
  • 42. CONTENT
    • Scope
    • Target Audience
    • Non English languages
    • Readability
    • Completeness
    • Comprehensibility
    • Data
    • Appropriate Hyperlinks
    • Deadlinks
    • Number of HL 
    • Number of Inward HL 
    • Non WWW references  
    • Outward Links Clear 
  • 44. MULTIMEDIA CONTENT usability, quantity, Quality, Formats, controls
    • Functional/ aesthetic
    • Cosmetic
    • Still Photos
    • Maps
    • Drawings
    • 3D/ digital video
    • Animations
    • Video
    • Sound
    • Downloadable
    • Special hardware
    • Special free software
    • Special priced software
    • Search Facility
    •   Advanced Search 
    • Separate Search for documents 
    • Word Search Vs Subject Search 
    • Taxonomy 
    • Contents page 
    • Site map 
    • Author Fieldsearch 
    • Boolean Search
    • Recall 
    • Precision 
    • Sortable 
    • Default operatorAND Search
    • Proximity
    • NOT Search
    • other operators
    • Truncation
    • Search Help 
    • Search Results By relevance 
    • With summary 
    • Specifying display 
    • Error management 
    • Save Search 
    • Search History 
    • Search Alert  
    • Saving
    • print format
    • Mailing
    • RSS/Podcast/ PDA/XML
    • Downloadable
    • Editable output
    • By format
    • By years
  • 48. ACCESS
    • Abstract
    • Free Fulltext
    • Priced Fulltext
    • Copyright managed
    • In ACM Digital Library- Discussions, find similar articles, email contents service, citation interlinking, peer to peer facility. Authoritative topic wise review literature. Virtual binder/ personal bibliography
    • Selective Register of IT events in e-journal
    • In, a patents database- Intellectual Property Discussion Forum; Prior Art Management Resource Center- a repository of articles and resources
    • In Micropatent, a patents database- sorting, reporting, reviewing, and graphing capabilities within a user’s personal workspace, called WorkSheets
  • 50. Special Features
    • In offline viewing of books; Audio books;text to speech accessibility
    • In EE Times, an e-journal - Newsletter for each subtopic, product and specifications databases
    • In Dr.Dobb’s Journal- source codes repository is much sought after. Netseminars- interactive discussions with industry experts.
  • 51. Coming back to: Why evaluate
    • Electronic resources require even more close evaluation of quality than print resources. As library professionals, it is our job to help our users find information written by experts and eliminate information posted by non-experts.
    • LIS professionals can provide reliable, professional assistance in evaluating the quality of information.
  • 52. An information literate person is one who:
    • recognizes that accurate and complete information is the basis for intelligent decision making
    • recognizes the need for information
    • knows how to locate needed information
    • formulates questions based on information needs
    • identifies potential sources of information
    • develops successful search strategies
    • accesses sources of information including computer-based and other technologies
    • evaluates information no matter what the source
    • organizes information for practical application
    • integrates new information into an existing body of knowledge
    • uses information in critical thinking and problem solving (Doyle, 1992)
    • uses information ethically and legally
  • 53. Information Literacy can be improved by constantly collaborating with users to promote:
    • Location of required information : Librarian can assist by outlining the Research Process; search strategies; proactively identifying information needs; select sources of information; creating pathfinders and guides .
    • Evaluation of information : Librarian can create awareness about the value of each criteria of evaluation of e-resources such as:
    • Purpose and Target Audience of the e-resource; Credibility (based on author, publisher and uptodatedness); User Interface covering information organization; resource design and help mechanisms; Appropriateness of Content; Appropriateness and balance of Reference Links; Search Facilities; Output and Access Options.
    • Effective usage of information : Librarian can also help the user to understand the economic, legal, and social issues surrounding the use of information; e.g. Copyright.
  • 54. Its YOUR turn!!!
      • How will you use this knowledge?
      • How can you improve Information Literacy?