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Validating Web Content

Overview

The Internet has been praised as a medium that truly frees information, making it accessible to anyone, anywhere. Information that was previously confined to libraries and university research labs is now freely (usually) available on the Internet. Search vehicles like Google help students, teachers, and business people access a mind-boggling amount of information.

Yet, (as with every great concept) a significant threat exists to the freedom of information - misinformation, hoaxes, and outright lies. A small percentage of experienced web users are aware of these concerns. Most web users, however, are not. Many students, for example, lack fundamental skills to critically evaluating, questioning, and authenticating content. An individual's lack of ability to evaluate accuracy of information is more of a limitation than not having access to information. The resources listed below offer some direction for validating web content.

Validating the accuracy of web content is a fundamental skill that students (or any web user) should learn before opening a web browser. Critical thinking and evaluation of content are the basis for determining authenticity and reliability of web resources.

Resources

Better Read That Again
"Misinformation on the Internet is, and will always be, a problem. One of the attributes of the Internet — the fact that nearly anyone can publish on it — creates an environment of freedom and simultaneously an environment that lacks quality control."
Good introductory resource (the Martin Luther site listed highlights the importance of validating content).

Criteria for Evaluation of Internet Resources
"This is a "toolbox" of criteria that enable Internet information sources to be evaluated for use in libraries, e.g. for inclusion in resource guides, and helping users evaluate information found."

Critical Thinking on the Web
Excellent resource. Links to a wealth of information.

Evaluating Web Pages
Offers a good list of questions to ask when evaluating content.

Evaluating Information
In addition to detail 5 critical components for evaluating information, the site has an extensive list of articles on evaluation.

Evaluation of Information Sources
Tons of resource links.

Proof & Evidence
"Knowing how to tell if something is true is a problem that humans have worried about for thousands of years."

Evaluating Information of the Internet
"When information is filtered -- reviewed, authenticated, and evaluated -- end users come to trust the source and accept an expert's assessment that it is valid and authoritative. When it isn't, end users must assess and evaluate the information themselves. And because the Internet is a vast network of ever-growing, unfiltered information sources, this is particularly true in this medium. "

Urban Legends Reference Page
A must visit site. Great resource.

Knowing What's What
Offers a simple overview of ensuring content validity.

Writing and Teaching Resources
Written for writers...but very applicable to any web user.

Evaluating Online Resources Notebook
Excellent listing of resources.

   

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