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Presentation on theme: "NOT GETTING CAUGHT IN THE WEB: CREDIBLE SOURCES ON THE WEB Megan Lowe, Reference Librarian."— Presentation transcript:


2 Session Overview Survey of Current Attitudes How Do You Feel About Web + Research? Evaluating Websites A Selection of Credible Websites …and how to find more! Q & A Feedback How Do Feel About Web + Research NOW?

3 Survey of Attitudes - Before Do you currently allow students to use Internet resources in research assignments? If no, why not? If yes, are there any restrictions? As in: no Wikipedia, no.coms, etc.? Do you already have a list of sites you permit? Do you have to approve Internet resources? Or can they use anything, as long as they document correctly? Do you use the Internet for research?

4 Students and the Internet Most of us dont trust students to use the Internet because the students DONT Recognize the importance of authority Critically assess resources for scholarliness Understand the research process Realize the dangers inherent to the Internet Understand bias and the need for objectivity Comprehend the provenance of ideas and concepts

5 You and Your Students Im not going to tell you that you should let your students use the Internet for research Im here to equip you with resources so you can equip your students as you see fit There are two ways to approach equipping your students with regard to using the Internet for research, if you are inclined to do so

6 Students and the Internet: Way #1 The method you use really depends on how much confidence you have in your students – and that might change semester to semester, or even class to class in a given semester If you have a group of students you have confidence in, then one approach would be to let them use the Internet, provided they carefully evaluate the websites they encounter

7 Way #1: Evaluating Websites There is a simplified list of criteria that students can use to assess websites These criteria are based on features inherent to what we would recognize as scholarly resources But they are generalized to account for the gray areas that occur in resources on the Web, since publishing on the Web isnt regulated in a meaningful way (beyond legally speaking)

8 Evaluating Websites: Criteria Accuracy – is the information verifiable in other, independent resources? Authority – what are the credentials of the author(s) or organization(s)? Coverage – how in-depth is the resource? What is its scope? Currency – how old is the information itself? How old is the resource? Objectivity – is there an obvious bias involved?

9 Students and the Internet: Way #2 If you do not trust a group of students to effectively evaluate websites, then it may be easier to simply restrict them to certain resources The next section of this presentation will cover several sites where students can find scholarly information The sites either serve as portals to info or provide info directly

10 Way #2: Portals to Info Portals dont produce the info themselves; they usually serve as aggregators, providing organized lists of resources Some of the best are created by institutions of higher learning, professional organizations, and even librarians (not that I am biased or anything) Often times, one doesnt have to go far to find good portals for websites

11 Portals to Info: Close to Home All of the full-time reference librarians at ULM have created subject guides for the departments they serve as liaisons They have vetted the resources theyve listed on their sites, so you know you can trust them These subject guides can be accessed from the Librarys home page or through the individual pages of the librarians


13 These subject guides are not standardized; they dont all contain the same information or look the same. But all of them contain websites that have been vetted by the librarian responsible for the guide. The Pharmacy/Health Sciences listing is separate.

14 Keep scrolling – every department is covered!


16 Most of these are either created by or associated with universities or libraries.

17 Portals to Info: The BUBL The BUBL describes itself as an Internet-based information service for the UK higher education community As of April 2011 it is no longer being updated unfortunately, but it will be maintained It covers all academic subject areas using the Dewey Decimal System It was created and is maintained by the Centre for Digital Library Research of University of Strathclyde-GlasgowCentre for Digital Library ResearchUniversity of Strathclyde-Glasgow


19 ipl2: Information You Can Trust ipl2 is the result of the merger of the Internet Public Library and the Librarians Internet Index It is hosted by Drexel Universitys College of Information Science & TechnologyDrexel Universitys College of Information Science & Technology A consortium of colleges and universities with information science programs comprise the entity responsible for developing and maintaining ipl2consortium of colleges and universities


21 Voice of the Shuttle: VoS VoS began in 1994 as a static collection of links and has evolved into a searchable database of resources It covers all academic subject areas (and then some!) It is also a wonderful resource for faculty and scholars in general, offering links to resources on academia, conferences, and related concerns It is affiliated with the University of California, Santa Barbara, English DepartmentUniversity of California, Santa Barbara, English Department


23 Aggregators: Similar to Databases Technically, the portals themselves are also aggregators, in the sense that they pull together multiple resources for the researcher But the resources were about to see dont list resources like the portals – the user simply inputs keywords, and the resources return results, like a database or an Internet search engine…AND the results are scholarly, and oftentimes periodical articles NOT websites

24 Google Scholar Google Scholar is a specialized Google search engine that focuses on scholarly documents (NOT sites) It features books and periodical articles Theres no guarantee of full-text for a result, but it does clearly display when full-text is available It even indicates when a result is from a database like JSTOR, and if the searcher has valid access to the database, itll link the searcher to the article


26 INFOMINE Infomine calls itself a virtual library of Internet resources relevant to faculty, students, and research staff at the university level It was built and is maintained by librarians from a variety of universities and colleges from around the nation It draws from databases, electronic journals, electronic books, bulletin boards, mailing lists, online library card catalogs, articles, directories of researchers, and many other types of information


28 Something a Little Different: DOAJ DOAJ, or the Directory of Open Access Journals, serves as portal to vetted scholarly (peer-reviewed), open-access journals It covers all disciplines Its all FREE, though some journals may require you to create an account (which is also free) for access It updates constantly, as new journals are added Many of them are in English or offer English translations of their contents


30 Something Else: Open J-Gate Open J-Gate is like the DOAJ: it has similar aims and goals, is global, and updated every day ¾ of their journals are peer-reviewed, scholarly journals; they offer professional/industry journals, which toe the scholarly line It indexes 8959 open access journals, with links to full text It offers article-level searching and subject-browsing


32 The White Elephant: Wikipedia Wikipedia is simultaneously one of the most useful tools Ive ever encountered and one of the most frustrating It has its uses in the context of research, but in an indirect way Wikipedia content is good for a crash course in basic concepts, ideas, biographies, etc. – getting acquainted with the basics The real treasures of Wikipedia are the notes, references, and external links

33 Good for a crash course, but its not a replacement for a real understanding of the topic. But this can help students quickly orient themselves contextually. Many of these are legitimate websites, and they are linked and ready for access. Where they arent available on the web, researchers can still get references to look up, such as the books. Several of these are from Ole Miss, Facts on File, or other sites. More references researchers can check against library holdings or request through Interlibrary Loan. Many of these are legitimate websites, and they are linked and ready for access. Where they arent available on the web, researchers can still get references to look up, such as the books. Several of these are from Ole Miss, scholarly journals, and sites.

34 Final Comments on Wikipedia If you let your students use Wikipedia, be clear – say they can use it to get to resources via notes, references, and external links, but not the content itself Wikipedia is also good for connecting researchers with public domain documents, including often- studied literary, historical, and scientific texts

35 Final Comments on Wikipedia And let me be clear: Im NOT saying you should let your students use Wikipedia… But I think there are ought to be a more universal attitude with regards to whether it should be allowed, at least within departments Students get mixed messages when one professor says its okay to use, and another say its not, and then others take the indirect approach

36 Q & A

37 Survey of Attitudes - After Will you feel more comfortable about letting students use the Internet for research now? If no, what doubts or concerns remain? If yes, on what terms? With evaluation framework List of permitted websites Must approve sites Will this session affect how you do research on the Internet?

38 Not Getting Caught in the Web Presentation URL Sites Mentioned in This Presentati on The BUBL - ipl2: Information You Can Trust - Voice of the Shuttle - Infomine - Directory of Open Access Journals - Open J-Gate - My Contact

39 If the reference librarians can help you in any way, please dont hesitate to call on us! Thanks for Attending!

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