Technology & Learning, September 1998, p. 22
Technology & Learning’s guide on how to locate quality information on the web provides a good starting point for what can often be a tricky and frustrating process.
Here’s an overview and some definitions that relate to web searching:
- First, you should realize that the world wide web is anything but organized, and finding good information quickly is almost always a challenge.
- An “index” or “directory” is a list of web sites categorized by topic or area of interest as in the categories listed on Yahoo’s web site at http://www.yahoo.com. These are good places to start since usually the best and most legitimate sites are listed there.
- “Search engines” refer to a huge database that finds web pages containing words you specify.
- “Meta–search engines” take your search terms and look up web pages from several different databases of web pages at the same time.
After you’ve completed your search and found a page that looks good, here are some guidelines to evaluate the quality of the site:
- The site’s main purpose should be to provide information.
- The site should reference external links.
- The author or sponsoring organization of the page should be clearly defined and include contact information such as mailing address, phone number, and E-mail address.
- The site should be current and indicate when it was last updated.
- If the site is scholarly or research-oriented, it should have clear and complete references such as footnotes, a bibliography, and acknowledgement of sources.
- The site should be user-friendly, clean, logical, and well-designed.