[Air-L] Research on critical evaluation of internet information?

Fiona Bradley blisspix at gmail.com
Thu Sep 11 21:04:06 PDT 2008

Is anyone aware of recent research on criteria to evaluate online
information, especially if aimed at resarchers and students?

For many years, libraries have been providing guides to evaluating
information on the Internet that asks students to look at the URL (is
it .com or .gov? is it a personal or organiation site?), the published
date, the existance of an author byline etc as critiera to evalute
online information.  These criteria are perhaps becoming a little too
simplistic now to really evaluate a site and in many cases can be
misleading – especially with the rise of academic blogging, online
datasets, preprint archives, association sites etc which fall out of
these boxes.

I'm having difficulty finding critiera that goes beyond looking at the
URL, authorship and page design and which looks at appraising all
types of information whether printed or online, and evaluating the
quality of peer review, accuracy of datasets and statistics and so on.
Is anyone aware of work in defining evaluation criteria that can be
used by researchers, academics and students? I am aware of some
studies of critiera for consumer health sites but I'm more interested
in appraisal for the purposes of citing information in research or
student papers.

Fiona Bradley

Information Services Librarian
University of Technology, Sydney

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