Evaluating the Web


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  • Evaluating the Web

    1. 1. Evaluating the Web Maine South High School Library Resource Center R. Retrum, Lead Librarian N. Mellendorf, Librarian
    2. 2. Is the Web a Good Research Tool? <ul><li>Student use of the Web </li></ul><ul><ul><li>University of Southern Colorado study showed: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Students felt quite confident about their ability to locate web information sources. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Content analysis of sites visited by students showed selected sites were appropriate only 27% of the time. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Evaluation is the key. </li></ul></ul></ul>
    3. 3. Authority <ul><li>Often difficult to determine authorship of Web resources </li></ul><ul><li>If the author’s name listed, his/her qualifications and contact information frequently absent </li></ul><ul><li>Publisher responsibility and purpose often not indicated </li></ul><ul><li>NIH National Institutes of Health (.gov) </li></ul><ul><li>Stanford Cancer Center (.edu) </li></ul><ul><li>Philip Morris USA (.com) </li></ul>
    4. 4. Accuracy <ul><li>Anyone can publish on the Web </li></ul><ul><li>Many Web resources are not verified by editors and/or fact checkers </li></ul><ul><li>World Bank </li></ul><ul><li>Whirled Bank </li></ul><ul><li>Google Technology </li></ul>
    5. 5. Objectivity <ul><li>Web often functions as a virtual soapbox </li></ul><ul><li>Goals/aims of persons or groups presenting material often not clearly stated </li></ul><ul><li>PETA (.org) </li></ul><ul><li>National Right to Life (.org) </li></ul>
    6. 6. Currency <ul><li>Are there dates on the page to indicate: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>When the page was written? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>When the page was first placed on the Web? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>When the page was last revised? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Are there any indications that the material is kept current? </li></ul></ul>
    7. 7. Relevancy and Coverage <ul><li>Is the information useful to your research? There is a lot of useless information on the Web. </li></ul><ul><li>Web coverage may differ from print or other media coverage. It may be much less thorough or it may be comparable. </li></ul><ul><li>Bunny Survival Tests </li></ul><ul><li>Occupational Outlook Handbook </li></ul>
    8. 8. Searching the Web <ul><li>What percentage of the web do most search engines index? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Statistics vary but some experts say that Google, for example indexes approx. 20 % of the web. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Are search engine results always organized by relevance? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>How often a keyword occurs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Link “popularity” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Paid placement listings </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Why are some parts of the web “invisible”? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Dynamic vs. Static web pages </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Database pages or Password protected pages </li></ul></ul>
    9. 9. Ways to Search the Invisible Web <ul><li>Add “and databases” to your search terms </li></ul><ul><li>Add site:edu or site:gov to your search terms </li></ul><ul><li>Use Invisible or “Deep” Web Directories: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Complete Planet </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Google Scholar </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Infomine </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Librarians’ Index to the Internet </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Science.gov </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>USA.gov </li></ul></ul>
    10. 10. When to skip the Web altogether… <ul><li>You need full-text articles from magazines and newspapers: use a subscription library database. </li></ul><ul><li>You need scholarly articles from peer-reviewed and academic journals: use a subscription library database or book. </li></ul><ul><li>You need an in-depth, original, narrative treatment of a topic: use a book. </li></ul>
    11. 11. Final thoughts… <ul><li>When you use the Web for information, consider carefully all of the factors that contribute to a high quality information source: authority, accuracy, objectivity, currency, and relevancy .  You should also consider that the Web is only one of a variety of information options. Remember that books, magazines, newspapers, databases, and other sources are available as well. Evaluating information is a skill you will be using throughout your lifetime. </li></ul>