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Evaluating Internet Resources
An Annotated Guide to Selected Resources

There are numerous guides and checklists available on the subject of evaluating Internet resources. The present bibliography makes no attempt to be comprehensive, but rather to describe a number of such guides representing a variety of approaches, which together provide an overview of major issues to be considered when evaluating Internet resources.
  • Building Sustainable Collections of Free Third-Party Web Resources June 2001 (Louis A. Pitschmann. Council for Library and Information Resources.)
    Report of a study commissioned by the Digital Library Federation on the current state of "collection" of free third party Internet resources by libraries. Pitschmann, dean of libraries at the University of Alabama and formerly associate director for collection development and management at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, focuses not only on issues of selection and the distinctions between tangible and online resources, but also on the institutional implications, including the hidden costs in terms of time, personnel, and money that are attendant upon selecting Internet resources for portal pages or for inclusion in an institutional catalog.
  • Checklist for Evaluating Web Resources (University of Southern Maine Library)
    A short list of questions to ask when evaluating web resources, grouped under Authority, Scope, Format and Presentation, and Cost and Accessibility. Also includes a link to an onlin source for Citing Internet Resource.
  • Consolidated Listing of Evaluation Criteria and Quality Indicators 1996-1998. (Project on Evaluation Procedures for WWW Information Resources. University of Georgia)
    A checklist of 125 indicators of resource quality under eleven categories: site access and usability, resource identification and documentation, author identification, authority of author, information structure and design, relevance and scope of content, validity of content, accuracy and balance of content, navigation within the document, quality of the links, and aesthetic and affective aspects. Developed as part of a project undertaken by researchers in the Department of Instructional Technology at the University of Georgia (1996-1998), the final report on the project was presented at the 1998 Annual AECT convention. [Oliver, K. M. (1998). Evaluation Procedures for WWW Information Resources: A Final Project Report. Paper Presented at The Annual Convention of the Association for Educational Communications and Technology (AECT), St. Louis, MO.] and published as Wilkinson, G.L., Bennett, L., & Oliver, K. (in press). Evaluation Criteria and Indicators of Quality for Internet Resources." Educational Technology, March/April, 1997.
  • Criteria for Evaluating Internet Resources (Aleteia Greenwood. Science and Engineering Reference Librarian. University of British Columbia.)
    Developed for use by college students, this clearly designed page combines a checklist of questions grouped under six categories (author or source, accuracy, currency, objectivity, coverage, and purpose) for ascertaining the suitability of a web site for research purposes combined with brief explanations of why each category is important.
  • Critical Evaluation of Resources on the Internet (University of Alberta Libraries)
    Includes a checklist of evaluation criteria covering scope and subject matter, authority, currency and completeness, design, and ease of use, as well as an annotated list of links to other Internet Evaluation Sites, including some targeted to elementary and secondary school educators and students.
  • Evaluation Information Found on the Internet (The Sheridan Libraries of the Johns Hopkins University)
    Discussion, with examples, of how criteria used to evaluate print resources, including authorship, publisher, point of view, references to other sources, verifiability, currency can be applied to the evaluation of Internet resources.
  • Evaluating Web Pages: Techniques to apply and Questions to ask (Library. University of California, Berkeley)
    A checklist of questions to ask when evaluating web sites accompanied by suggestions for answering those questions. Includes a section on techniques for determining the ownership of domain names, and a link to a glossary of Web and Internet Jargon.
  • Evaluation of Information Sources. [PDF format: 39.3 KB/4 pp.] (World Wide Web Virtual Library, maintained by Alastair Smith)
    An extensive bibliography of online resources relating to the evaluation of Internet resources. Includes commentaries, general selection criteria, as well as criteria developed for specific projects.
  • How Should We Look at Internet Information? (Hope Tillman, Director of Libraries, Babson College.)
    Originally written for a 1995 presentation,and revised several times since then, this paper addresses the relevancy of criteria for other formats for information on the net, generic evaluation criteria, current evaluation tools on the net, the author's personal indicators of "quality," and suggestions for Internet information providers or publishers.
  • The Internet: Window to the World or Hall of Mirrors? Information Quality in the Networked Environment (Jack Solok)
    Originally published as part of the Internic's End User's Corner, now made available by the Internet Scout Project, this article is an early, succinct guide to analyzing networked information that remains valid today, covering content, access.
  • LII.ORG Selection Criteria
  • A succinct statement of the criteria used for selecting resources included in the Librarian's Index to the Internet. Among the criteria listed are scope and audience, content, availability, credibility, authorship, working external links, legality, authoritativeness, "shelf life," design and function. Specific questions under each criteria help guide selectors in evaluating a specific a site.
  • "The Six Quests for the Electronic Grail: Current Approaches to Information Quality in WWW Resources." In Review Informatique et Statistique dans les Sciences humaines (RISSH)", 1996. No. 1-4. Centre Informatique de Philosophie et Lettres, Universite de Liege, Belgium, pp.45-71. Also available online.
    Although written in 1996, much of this analysis of the problems of information integrity on the Web -- including unattributed, undated resources; lack of standardization in presentation, circularity of links, and explosive growth -- still rings true. Ciolek focuses on six main approaches to overcoming the Web's shortcomings: programming, procedural, structural; bibliographical; evaluative; and organizational.
  • Testing the Surf: Criteria for Evaluating Internet Information Resources. (Alastair G. Smith), The Public-Access Computer Systems Review 8, no. 3 (1997). (Refereed Article)
    An early proposed set of criteria, or toolbox, for evaluating Internet information sources, based on a survey of print and online resources. While a number of the sites mentioned in the article no longer exist, the general conclusions continue to be applicable.
  • Technomonitor: What is Credible Information? by Donald T. Hawkins. In ONLINE Magazine, September 1999.
    Noting the differences in the publishing paradigm for scholarly resources in print versus that for information appearing on the Internet, Hawkins reports on a study he made of criteria cited by 14 web authors. Criteria are grouped in one of three categories: those mentioned by 10 or more authors; those mentioned by 5 or 6 authors; those mentioned by 2 or 3 authors, and finally those mentioned by only a single author. Also includes a bibliography of print and online resources on the topic. Online version archived by the Internet Archive. Links are not maintained and may no longer be active.
  • Web Wisdom: How to Evaluate and Create Information Quality on the Web, by Jan Alexander and Marsha Ann Tate. Mahwah, N.J. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1999. 156 pages.( LC Call Number: TK5105.888 .A376 1999 Overflow.)
    Ar archived copy of an earlier version of their checklists for evaluating advocacy, business/marketing, news, informational, and personal web pages is available from the Internet Archive. Links are not maintained and may no longer be active.
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