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Treasure or Trash Folly or Fact Jewel or Junk

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Presentation on theme: "Treasure or Trash Folly or Fact Jewel or Junk"— Presentation transcript:

1 Treasure or Trash Folly or Fact Jewel or Junk
Telling the difference on the Internet.

2 Maureen Baron The English Montreal School Board 6000 Fielding Avenue Montreal, Quebec, H3X 1T4 Tel Fax

3 Screening or Filtering Software Not an answer!
Net Nanny, CyberPatrol, Safe Surf Not foolproof Objectionable sites can come through Must be updated, nourished Non-discriminating blocks Not a truth / crap detection service


5 Students and the INTERNET
Students think: the Net is one big answer machine. if it’s on the Net it has to be true. Students should move from: being information consumers to information users, evaluators and producers. using data, to evaluating information, to gaining insight, to action.

6 Which is the real White House URL?



9 Decide what type of “stuff” you want.
Facts Opinions Statistics Descriptions Immediate news Narratives Reasoned arguments Images Sounds Eyewitness reports Financials Cutting edge research Historical documents

10 Why do you want the “stuff”?
Get new ideas Find factual information, reasoned support, documents, or logical arguments to support or refute a position Survey other sources Locate information on which to base a decision

11 Information Source Diversity
Web pages Journal articles Reference sources School projects Video and audio files Pictures / Images Advertising

12 Who is that saying what? Anyone can say anything.
There is no supreme editor or authority. There is no inspector general or truth verifier. The Net is the ultimate democracy.

13 Why might the “stuff” be on the web?
To inform To persuade To recruit To sell To present a viewpoint for discussion To create or change an attitude or belief To demonstrate a function

14 Is this a commercial site?
Is this a profit making company? Is this the charitable division of a profit making company? Is the company name in the URL? Is the “store” or “shopping section” the first screen available? How many clicks until you reach the sales pitch? How many clicks until they ask for personal information? Is this a real company?

15 What type of information is this?
Press release / Announcement From whom, to whom, why News story Who or what is the source? Can this be verified or corroborated by a 3rd party source or another media? Advertising Who is advertising what, to whom, and why?

16 Advertising Public Relations
Usually easy to identify Bias exists towards the product or service is usually easy to see Message is usually: Buy It, Use It, Take It, You Need It Usually disguised to seem to be a “real” story Bias is much more subtle and hidden Message appears to be objective, for the public good or helpful. Aspirine vs Tylenol efficacy story release

17 Timing When was the web site last updated?
When was the article written? Is all of the information current or is some of out of date? Do the contact coordinates still work? Does the traffic counter number seem credible?

18 The CARS checklist - Robert Harris Southern California College
C = Credibility Source supplies evidence to prove it can be trusted Author’s credentials Information, data or statistics are cited Cross referenced to other media Material is hosted at a reliable www site

19 What to do? Search for information on the author.
Do a “link check” to see who else is linked to this page.

20 Examine the URL Read the URL address.
edu. , org., net., com., gov., ca., uk., au., fr., us., ~ This TILDE = personal site. This could indicate a PHD faculty member expert site or a grade 6 student’s site.

21 How did you find the link?
Which search engine was used? Google, Yahooligans, Excite, What search term was used? Chocolate, White chocolate, chocolate chips, chocolate cake, chocolate recipes Where was the link in the list of returned sites? 1st, 10th, 25th, with or without ($0.05) beside it

22 What to do Look for at least 2 corroborating sites.
Determine when the site was last updated. Is there a known agency, company, institution or organization attached to the site?

23 The CARS checklist - Robert Harris Southern California College
A = Accuracy Source gives the whole truth and is as current as possible When was the information created? Are there sins of omission as well as commission? Why was the information put on the web? Does the level of the text match with the level of the intended audience?

24 What to do Make a checklist of pro and con elements of the information. Check if experts on both sides of the question are referred to in the text? Examine the language for emotional laden words, phrases or imagery.

25 The CARS checklist - Robert Harris Southern California College
R = Reasonableness Source is concerned with the truth Balanced and reasoned argument Objective position Overt or covert conflict of interests Reality check -Too good to be true? Contradictions or inconsistencies evident Extreme language or claims

26 The CARS checklist - Robert Harris Southern California College
S = Support Source provides evidence of accuracy, reliability and corroboration Cross references to corroborating or supporting sources Author or source contact information provided Find at least 2 other sources to support the information, data or position Author, or his work, is referenced elsewhere

27 What to do Use other media, such as books, as corroborating sources.
If possible, contact the author for further clarification or information. Are the hyperlinks functional, current, and easy to use? Is it a “members only” site? What do you have to provide to be a member and why?

28 The CAFÉ checklist - Robert Harris Southern California College
C = Challenge the information Demand accountability Who says so? Why do they say so? Why was the information created and posted? Why should I believe and trust the text? Is this the whole truth? Is the language reasonable? Who else supports this? Where else does this appear?

29 The CAFÉ checklist - Robert Harris Southern California College
A = Adopt skepticism Is it too good to be true? Are the claims too grandiose? Are the arguments too sweeping or vague? Is the language too extreme? Are there big promises of things to come or further proof?

30 What to do If you answered “yes” to any of the previous questions - then this is a dubious website. Rethink why you would want information from this site.

31 The CAFÉ checklist - Robert Harris Southern California College
F = File new information or data to be verified or corroborated Avoid premature closure or acceptance. Don’t jump to conclusions. Critically evaluate the data before making a decision to accept or reject. Look for other sources.

32 The CAFÉ checklist - Robert Harris Southern California College
E = Evaluate and re-evaluate according to new or changing information or data Information is dynamic and fluid. There is a range of information quality and reliability. Match your purpose with your source and planned finished product.

33 External verification strategies
Do an author citation search. Where else does the name appear? Check maps, atlases and other reference tools. Look at other pictures of the same site. Use a variety of search engines. Is there a motive of profit or gain on the site? Are there spelling or grammar mistakes?

34 Find out information about the information
What are the goals of those who generated and published the information? What are the goals of those who search for and use the information?

35 Student Internet Evaluation Form
Project name and goal / purpose Keywords used in information search Site citation including list of authors or sponsor or host, type of information Statement as to why student accepts this information How did the information relate to your project State what will be done with this information


37 Internet Detective Interactive site to test your treasure versus trash detection skills

38 URL’s for this Presentation

39 The End

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