Internet - The World Wide Web
Using the Internet's World Wide Web (WWW)
is a good way to provide new and stimulating resources for all
students regardless of the content. Yet, there are so many Web
sites that it becomes confusing to recommend sites for
student use. Evaluating a Web site is a yet widely unstudied
and unresearched media evaluation piece. The University of Wisconsin-Eau
Claire McIntyre Library has suggestions (Betsy Richmond 715-836-4076
Ten C's for Evaluating Internet Resources
- Content: What
is the intent of the content? Are the title and author identified?
Is the content "juried"? Is the content "popular"
or."scholarly", satiric or serious? What is the date
of the document or article? Is the "edition" current?
Do you have the latest version? (Is this important?) How do you
Is the author identifiable and reliable? Is the content credible?
Authoritative? Should it be? What is the purpose of the information,
that is, is it serious, satiric, humorous? Is the URL extension
.edu, .com, .gov or .org? What does this tell you about the "publisher"?
- Critical Thinking: How can you apply critical thinking skills, including
previous knowledge and experience, to evaluate Internet resources?
Can you identify the author, publisher, edition, etc. as you
would with a "traditionally" published resource? What
criteria do you use to evaluate Internet resources?
Even if the copyright notice does not appear prominently, someone
wrote, or is responsible for, the creation of a document, graphic,
sound or image, and the material falls under the copyright conventions.
"Fair use" applies to short, cited excerpts, usually
as an example for commentary or research. Materials are in the
"public domain" if this is explicitly stated. Internet
users, as users of print media, must respect copyright.
Internet resources should be cited to identify sources used,
both to give credit to the author and to provide the reader with
avenues for further research. Standard style manuals (print and
online) provide some examples of how to cite Internet documents,
although standards have not yet been formally established.
Will the Internet site be maintained and updated? Is it now and
will it continue to be free? Can you rely on this source over
time to provide up-to-date information? Some good .edu sites
have moved to .com, with possible cost implications. Other sites
offer partial use for free, and charge fees for continued or
Is your discussion list "moderated"? What does this
mean? Does your search engine or index look for all words or
are some words excluded? Is this censorship? Does your institution,
based on its mission, parent organization or space limitations,
apply some restrictions to Internet use? Consider censorship
and privacy issues when using the Internet.
If more than one user will need to access a site, consider each
users' access and "functionality". How do users connect
to the Internet and what kind of connection does the assigned
resource require? Does access to the resource require a graphical
user interface? If it is a popular (busy) resource, will it be
accessible in the time frame needed? Is it accessible by more
than one Internet tool? Do users have access to the same Internet
tools and applications? Are users familiar with the tools and
applications? Is the site "viewable" by all Web browsers?
Does the Internet resource have an identified comparable print
or CD ROM data set or source? Does the Internet site contain
comparable and complete information? (For example, some newspapers
have partial but not full text information on the Internet.)
Do you need to compare data or statistics over time? Can you
identify sources for comparable earlier or later data? Comparability
of data may or may not be important, depending on your project.
What is the context for your research? Can you find "anything"
on your topic, that is, commentary, opinion, narrative, statistics
and your quest will be satisfied? Are you looking for current
or historical information? Definitions? Research studies or articles?
How does Internet information fit in the overall information
context of your subject? Before you start searching, define them
research context and research needs and decide what sources might
be best to use to successfully fill information needs without
from "A Technical
Guide to Teleconferencing and Distance Learning," 3rd edition