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Evaluating websites2
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  • 1. Evaluating Websites 10/12/2010
  • 2. Why do we need to evaluate websites?
    • The internet contains vast, seemingly infinite amounts of information.
    • The internet is a fantastic tool for self-expression and for sharing information.
    • However, the bar to publishing something on the internet is almost non-existent.
    • It is up to you to determine the validity of the information you find on the internet.
  • 3. Look at the source/URL
    • What is the domain?
      • .com – commercial site
      • .org – organization
      • .edu – educational
      • .gov .mil .us – government
    • Is it a personal site?
      • AOL or Geocities?
      • /~johndoe ?
      • “ users” “homepages” “people” in the URL?
    • Evaluate / all parts of / the URL
  • 4. Search Tools
    • Searching Google for “site:.edu” will return pages only on servers from universities
    • http://www.google.com/search?q=mozart+site%3A.edu&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a
    • Google Scholar
    • http://scholar.google.com/
  • 5. Authority: who wrote it?
    • Look for “About” “Background” “Biography” or “Contact” links
    • Who is the author?
      • Is it an organization or agency?
    • What are their credentials?
      • an email is not enough information!
    • Who is the publisher?
  • 6. Currency: When was it written?
    • Look for any “Last Updated” or “Published on” or “Copyright” information
    • What is the nature of the information?
      • Statistical?
      • Historical?
      • Current hot topic?
  • 7. Search Tools
    • If you can find an author’s name, search for it on Google to find out more
    • Use the Wayback Machine to find out when the site was last updated:
    • http://www.archive.org/web/web.php
  • 8. Quality: references, footnotes, links
    • Are sources documented?
      • Is there a bibliography or footnotes?
    • Are there links to other sites?
      • Do the links work?
    • Is the information reproduced from somewhere else?
      • Copyright information?
    • Bias – is only one side of the argument represented?
  • 9. Reputation: what do others say?
    • Do other sites often link it?
      • What do they say about?
    • Has it been indexed in a reputable web directories?
      • Librarians Index to the Internet http://lii.org
      • The WWW Virtual Library http://vlib.org/
      • Infomine http://infomine.ucr.edu/
    • Could the site be a hoax?
  • 10. Search Tools
    • Searching Google for “link:http://www.yourURLhere.org” to see all the sites that link to that URL.
    • Hoax-checkers:
      • www.snopes.com
      • List of Known Hoax Websites from the Open Directory Project