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:

  1. First, you should realize that the world wide web is anything but organized, and finding good information quickly is almost always a challenge.

  2. 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.

  3. “Search engines” refer to a huge database that finds web pages containing words you specify.

  4. “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:

  1. The site’s main purpose should be to provide information.

  2. The site should reference external links.

  3. 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.

  4. The site should be current and indicate when it was last updated.

  5. If the site is scholarly or research-oriented, it should have clear and complete references such as footnotes, a bibliography, and acknowledgement of sources.

  6. The site should be user-friendly, clean, logical, and well-designed.