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ITB Library study guide: evaluating information sources

A study guide for how to evaluate online information

ITB Library

on 8 September 2011

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Transcript of ITB Library study guide: evaluating information sources

Evaluating Information Sources In the Information Age we can

create & distribute information more easily than ever before
access information, almost, instantly One of the founding principles of the Internet is equal access for all - equal opportunity to create information
- equal access to use online information Who wrote it? Is the author an expert?
Do they represent a reputable organisation?
Who is the intended audience?

Look at the "about the author" section on the website; are there contact details for the author? Who publishes it? Is the information biased? It is important to check the information for bias. Academic resources are balanced and show different perspectives on a topic. Is is Current? Sometimes online information is abandoned!
Before you use it you should check when it was published and whether it is still relevant.

Look for 'last updated' information.
Is the site well-maintained? Further Reading: http://lib.nmsu.edu/instruction/evalcrit.html New Mexico State University Library University of California Berkeley http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/instruct/guides/evaluation.html Who owns the website?
Are they a commerical, educational, non-profit organisation?

In general, government and educational websites are reliable sources of information. Non-profit and commercial websites may show some bias Is it accurate? But!
If we bypass the editors when online information is written,
then we, the readers, must edit it ourselves before we use it College assignments require information of a high academic quality.

You need to select the best quality sources for your work.

Some of the important things to look out for are: Look for explicit bias For instance, a tourism website will proabably be full of blue skies and beautiful views.

If the information seems biased try to also include an alternative viewpoint. Beware hidden bias Is the author trying to inform you or to convince you?

Does the author or publisher have an undeclared interest in promoting certain information?

Avoid this type of information! In a world without editors, you and I must check the accuracy of the information we use.
Can the facts be verified?
Does the article include full citations?

Beware of articles that are unlike anything you have read anywhere else And finally... Check the homepage The nature of the web allows us to click into any page of a website.

Always return to the homepage to ensure it belongs to a reputable organisation ITB Library http://blanchlib.itb.ie ITB Library
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