Internet Info Quality/Accuracy (fwd)

   check out this post on information quality ...... bertj

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Tue, 18 Mar 1997 8:13:29 -0500
From: "Wildemuth, Barbara" <wildem.ils@mhs.unc.edu>
To: faculty-l@ruby.ils.unc.edu, "Daquila, Jan" <daquila.ils@mhs.unc.edu>
Subject: Fwd: AAHESGIT47:  Internet Info Accuracy

Frank Molinek, the librarian quoted below, is one of our fairly recent 
  To: American Association for Higher Education <aahesgit@list.cren.net>
  From: "Steve Gilbert" <gilbert@clark.net>
  Reply-To: aahesgit@list.cren.net

(3/18/97 AAHESGIT #47.  Approx. 3 pages from John S. Walker 
of CSS Internet News <jwalker@tor.hookup.net>

providing a brief commentary about one student's experience 
with the varying QUALITY of information available on the 
Internet, and then offering some general observations and 
valuable recommendations for helping people evaluate Internet 
information.  Anyone developing an "information literacy" 
program will find these practical recommendations quite 
helpful.  This is obviously an area in which the traditions, 
training, and expertise of librarians can be extremely useful.

A few weeks ago I mentioned a panel of 8th grade students I 
heard at the U. of Neb. - Lincoln.  One of the questions 
asked of them was on this topic.  I was astonished that each 
of the students responded CASUALLY by noting that he/she was 
quite accustomed to finding dubious information on the Net, 
and that each had learned to check other sources.)
Steve Gilbert ===============================================
================ Taking a few minutes out of the AAHE =======
================ National Conf. on Higher Ed. in DC. ========

There are ways to check an Internet site's worth before 
accepting facts

David Boraks 
The Hamilton Spectator 

The student at Davidson College, near Charlotte, N.C., 
innocently turned to the Internet for help researching a 
paper on the origins of the AIDS virus. 

Most of what she had found, both in printed and Internet 
sources, listed the conventional and widely accepted theories 
that the disease began among primates in Africa or in an 
isolated human population. She cited them, offering arguments 
for and against the theories. 

Then she found an obscure World Wide Web site, not affiliated 
with any research or governmental group, that outlined in 
elaborate, if sometimes confusing, detail how the virus was 
supposedly invented in secret U.S. military laboratories as 
part of a biological warfare research project. She accepted 
it at face value and made it the central argument of her 

Her professors made her rewrite the essay. Why? Because the 
Web site she used didn't pass the usual tests for determining 
whether information is reliable enough for citation in an 
academic paper. 

"Any time you have a topic that is potentially controversial, 
you're likely to run across these kinds of sites," said Frank 
Molinek, head of serials and government documents at 
Davidson's E.H. Little Library. "You find students assuming 
that what's at these sites is the same sort of thing as if 
you were reading a scholarly journal." 

It's not. 

Although the Internet can speed and simplify research, 
teachers and librarians say it also has added an unexpected 
and difficult challenge -- helping students learn to sift the 
good from the bad. 

Since last fall, Molinek has warned of the pitfalls of online 
research during Internet orientation sessions for Davidson 
students. He is adamant that there are many benefits to using 
the Internet, but the information found there must be put to 
the same tests as printed information. 

Molinek and other college librarians offer these tips for 
judging the value of Internet sites: 

What is the site's purpose? Will its information be unbiased? 

Who sponsors the site? What are the organization's values or 
goals? Can you contact the sponsors should questions arise? 

Is the information well-documented? Does it provide citations 
to sources used in obtaining the information? Are individual 
articles signed or attributed?

What are the author's credentials? Is the author cited 
frequently in other sources? 

Lastly, how does the value of the Web-based information 
you've found compare with other available sources, such as 

"A lot of it's real common-sensical," Molinek said. He said 
librarians and scholars have made careful decisions about 
what information students will find on a library's shelves. 
But, "when they sit down at the computer, they become 
responsible for keeping in mind the things that we as 
information-gatherers keep in mind." 

Students most likely to get in trouble are those who rely 
only on the Internet. 

"There is good information out there," said Lou Ortmayer, a 
Davidson political science professor, "but it doesn't 
substitute for library research. So you'd better not give me 
a paper that cites only Internet sources." 


Also in this issue:

- Evaluating Web Sites: Criteria and Tools 

- Evaluating Quality on the Net

- Evaluating Internet Based Information 

- Netscape users to watch cookie jar

- McAfee's intranets suite gives Web servers a security boost

- Glitch in some Packard Bell NEC computers causes big phone 

- Study: 81% of Direct Marketers Using the Net or Web 


Excerpt from CSS Internet News       ,-~~-.____
For subscription details email      / |  '     \
jwalker@tor.hookup.net with        (   )        0
SUBINFO CSSINEWS in the             \_/-, ,----'
subject line.                          ====           //
                                       /  \-'~;    /~~~(O)
"On the Internet no one               /  __/~|   /       |
knows you're a dog"                 =(  _____| (_________|

Information below last updated:  2/4/97
TLTR Summer Institute -- July 11-16, 1997 Phoenix, Arizona

    Steven W. Gilbert, Director, Technology Projects
       American Association for Higher Education
    202/293-6440 X 54              FAX:  202/293-0073
      http://www.aahe.org [includes TLTR Web Site]

      Order TLTR Workbook at Special AAHESGIT Reader Rate:  
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 - Copyright 1997 Steven W. Gilbert

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| Subject: AAHESGIT47:  Internet Info Accuracy
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