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" <email@example.com>
To: firstname.lastname@example.org, "Daquila, Jan" <email@example.com>
Subject: Fwd: AAHESGIT47: Internet Info Accuracy
Frank Molinek, the librarian quoted below, is one of our fairly recent
To: American Association for Higher Education <firstname.lastname@example.org>
From: "Steve Gilbert" <email@example.com>
(3/18/97 AAHESGIT #47. Approx. 3 pages from John S. Walker
of CSS Internet News <firstname.lastname@example.org>
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
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
"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."
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
- THE ROLE OF ONLINE COMMUNICATIONS IN SCHOOLS: A NATIONAL
Excerpt from CSS Internet News ,-~~-.____
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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]
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