Web sites: Reliability & Authenticity: Issues & Resources
I. The problem: the Internet is n n Relatively new & untested information and communication medium n n Ubiquitous & pervasive in both authorship and audience n n Unregulated and unregulatable
II. Examples of the problem: n New Hartford, Minnesota New Hartford, Minnesota New Hartford, Minnesota n Feline Reactions to Bearded Men Feline Reactions to Bearded Men Feline Reactions to Bearded Men n Human rights in Tunisia websites: Amnesty International’s http://www.amnesty.org/tunisia)Amnesty International’s (http://www.amnesty.org/tunisia)Amnesty International’sAmnesty International’s Tunisian government supporters’ http://www.amnesty-tunisia.org/)Tunisian government supporters’ (http://www.amnesty-tunisia.org/)Tunisian government supporters’Tunisian government supporters’
III. 7 basic website purposes: n n personal/vanity pages n n promotional for sales n n current or news sites n n informational (on a topic or hobby) n n persuasive as propaganda n n instructional n n registrational/data gathering
IV. Contexts of website evaluation: n n Header n n body n n footer n n navigation
V. Five evaluative guidelines: n n Authority n n Currency n n Coverage n n Objectivity n n Accuracy
Authority n n Who is responsible for the page? n n What are their qualifications and associations, and can you verify them?
Authority Check the footer for name of the web page author his/her credentials and title organizational affiliation Is the information verifiable?
Currency n n Are dates clear when the website was first created and edited?
Currency Check the footer for when the website was created when last edited Check the content for news items, indications the site is actively maintained, acknowledgements/responses to visitors
Coverage n n What is the focus of the site? n n Are there clear headings to illustrate an outline of the content? Is the navigation within the website clear?
Coverage Check the header for a clear title and web site description Check the content for headings and keywords Check the navigation to verify it reflects the content outline within the web site
Objectivity n n Are biases clearly stated? n n Are affiliations clear?
Objectivity Check the content for statement of purpose type of web site and potential audience outside links external to the website graphics and cues for affiliations Check the header/footer and URL/domain (.gov/.com/.edu) to determine organizational source of website and how this reflects on content type
Accuracy n n Are sources of information and factual data listed, and available for cross-checking?
Accuracy Check the content for spelling and grammar accuracy and consistency of facts Check external web site rating services as Britannica, Cyberlinks, et al
Accuracy Compare content with website’s external links your independent research – –on the Internet – –bibliographic databases & electronic indexes (i..e ERIC) – –books – –print & on-line journals
VI. Bibliography n n Webtruth http://www.iss.stthomas.edu/webtruth