We are confronted with a predicament. As heirs to a 500 year old system of print tools designed to disperse information reliably and over time, we suddenly find our old system fossilized a new electronic system less than 4 years old called the Internet or World Wide Web has taken its place. The problem is that this new system is filled with web sites as ephemeral as mayflies.We find that over time the task of describing this system and using its resources as evid ence for research is a little like trying to document water.
In this new system few, if any, of the old system's flourishing tradition of gate keepers exist who can regulate the quality of information dispersed over the web. Indeed there is a liberating mood on the web which seems to delight in the absence of these old guardians of the public information pool. Given this predicament, we must ask ourselves how can we be assured the information we find on the Web is trustworthy in the old print sense of the word. This is not a question which is being asked by just a few: Librarians everywhere are scrambling to establish some guidelines which will help students maintain the integrity of their research and eduational experience.
As I reviewed a considerable number of these websites in the preparation of this page, I came to the conclusion that there were essentially four kinds of website which offer advice on how to evaluate information on the World Wide Web. They can be use fully catalogued as follows:
What follows is a set of URL's I am in the process of annotating and developing: This is very much a work in progress. Your sugggestions and observations would be gratefully accepted. rre
Putting the Squeeze on the Information Firehose
Bibliography on Evaluating Internet Resources
Evaluating Internet Resources by Wilfred Drew
Evaluating Quality on the Net
Johns Hopkins University: Evaluating Information Found on the Internet
Curtin Library, Western Australia University: Evaluating the Documents You Have Found on the World Wide Web
Evaluating Web Sites for Educational Uses
Purdue: Evaluating World Wide Web Information
Evaluation of Information Sources
UCLA: Thinking Critically About World Wide Web Resources