Module 3

Evaluating Websites

 [Read the following scene. Then click "next page" to begin the learning module.]

Scene 3

Book Tattoos.jpg Val has looked for books from the library and articles from the databases on her topic of tattoos. But, it's so hard for her to ignore the Internet. After all, she uses it all the time to help get information for personal decisions. Val wonders if there is any difference between information needed for personal use and information for scholarly research. Certainly, she thought, there is something on the Internet that can be used for her classroom assignment. She decides to go talk to the librarian, Mr. Bookman, who came and visited her class.

VAL: Excuse me, Mr. Bookman.  I've found some great information from both books and databases for my paper.  But really, don't most people just go to the Internet for answers these days?

BOOKMAN:  Yes, Val.  People do go to the Internet for all kinds of information.  But, what we have to remember about the Internet is that anyone, anywhere, at any time can post information.  As the user of information, we don't know who these people really are, when and where they got their information, and if the information is factual. While people think it might be quicker to just "Google it," you have to analyze information from the Internet. 

VAL:  I'd like to know the difference between what I find in books and articles and what is on the Internet.


BOOKMAN: Val, there are many fabulous web sites on the Internet with reliable, credible information that even the most experienced researchers often turn to. However, the catch is that there is also a lot of junk! It's up to you, the researcher, to determine which is which.

VAL: So finding a good web site on the Internet is like trying to find a needle in a haystack?

BOOKMAN: (Laughing) How about more like panning for gold? You need to sift out the junk and know how to spot the best sites. Which reminds me, I have some tips for you on how to do just that (and gives Val a handout with web site evaluation tips).  

(Photo credit: Used under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic license)