As a librarian one of my favorite topics is how to evaluate good resources. In fact, at a recent user group meeting, one of the speakers talked about the concept of "good enough." In other words, if I know little about stereos and wish to purchase one, I might start at the local giant discount mega retailer. If I find one in the closeout bin that meets my criteria (e.g., receives 2 stations and is silver) then I might buy it regardless of whether there might be a better one on ebay or at an electronics store.
Essentially, what this speaker was saying was that who cares about the quality as long as it meets the expectations of the user! BLEECH! ;(
To be honest, he was probably lucky than librarians are generally nice folks and no one tripped him as he was exiting the stage.
Contrary, to that notion, most librarians believe that researchers/students/patrons should know how to evaluate resources, especially web resources.
This article gives a checklist for determining the worthiness of a website and then suggests some suggested resources on the subject, which are primarily from library edus. :)
The checklist is:
- Judge the accuracy of the information and take note of the date modified. Sub-questions to ask yourself:
a) Does the site provide evidence that it comes from reputable sources?
b) Does the site contain any obvious biases, errors, or misleading omissions in the document?
c) Does the site contain advertising that might limit the nature of the content?
d) Is the information current and up-to-date?
- Is the level of information in this site appropriate for the intended audience? Sub-questions to ask yourself:
a) Does the site contain information appropriate for the intended learners with respect to their maturity and cognitive abilities?
b) Does the site contain any extraneous and unsuitable vocabulary, language or concepts, bias, or stereotyping?
- Is the information in this site presented clearly? Sub-questions to ask yourself:
a) Is the information arranged in an orderly fashion?
b) Is the information presented clearly?
- Is the information in this site closely related to purpose, content, activity, and procedures? Sub-questions to ask yourself:
a) Is there a clear tie among the purpose, content, and procedures suggested?
b) Does the site contain any activities irrelevant to the topic?
c) Does the site contain any redundant or isolated activities without a relationship to objectives?
- Is the information in this site complete in scope and ready for use? Sub-questions to ask yourself:
a) Does this site contain complete breadth and depth of information related to the topic it claims to cover? b) Are there any content gaps in concept development?
- If a website has activities, are the content, presentation method, and learner activity potentially engaging? Sub-questions to ask yourself:
a) Are the suggested activities challenging, interesting, and appealing for the intended learners? b) Does the information in the site emphasize and promote relevant action on the part of the learner?
c) Does the site have the potential for developing confidence and satisfaction as a result of learner effort?
- If it claims to be comprehensive, is the information in the site well organized? Sub-questions to ask yourself:
a) Is the information in the site easy to use and logically sequenced, with each segment of the resource related to other segments?
b) Does the information flow in an orderly manner, use organizing tools (e.g., a table of contents, a map, or headings), and avoid the use of unrelated elements that are potentially ineffective or overpowering?
c) Are references, bibliographies, or other supporting evidence provided?