Criteria to Evaluate the Credibility of WWW Resources
Anyone, in theory, can publish on the Web; therefore, it is imperative for users of the Web to develop a critical eye to evaluate the credibility of Internet information. Searching for sources on the WWW involves using a search engine, a directory, or some combination of these two. Because there is so much information on the Web, good and bad, finding what you want is not an exact science and can be time consuming. According to Nicholas C. Burbules, "....the Web is not an ordinary reference system; it poses some unique and, in many respects, unprecedented conditions that complicate the task of sorting out dependable from undependable information--and even complicates the notion that we have a clear sense of that distinction. How to differentiate credible from fraudulent information is not a new problem, but unraveling these in the context of a vast rapidly changing networked system is" (Paradoxes of the Web: The Ethical Dimensions of Credibility, Library Trends, Wntr 2001 v49 i3 p441, Introduction). Developing a keen sense of the credibility of sources, based on such clues as connection of author to the subject, audience, source of publication, and documentation of supporting evidence, can also help you evaluate print and other types of sources. Though many search engines rank material according to their idea of what is relevant, that doesn't mean the material is relevant to want you want or is reliable. These guidelines are to help you become familiar with various types of Web resources and the reliability of the information. 1. Is there any evidence that the author of the Web information has some authority in the field about which she or he is providing information? What are the author's qualifications, credentials and connections to the subject? 2. With what organization or institution is the author associated? Is there a link to the sponsoring organization, a contact number and/or address or e-mail...
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