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Thinking Critically about World Wide Web Resources by Esther Grassian, UCLA College Library The World Wide

Web has a lot to offer, but not all sources are equally valuable or reliable !ere are so"e #oints to consider $or additional #oints regarding Web sites for sub%ect disci#lines, see Thinking Critically about &isci#line'(ased World Wide Web Resources Content ) Evaluation * Who is the audience+ * What is the #ur#ose of the Web ,age ) -hat does it contain+ * !o- co"#lete and accurate are the infor"ation and the links #rovided+ * What is the relative value of the Web site in co"#arison to the range of infor"ation resources available on this to#ic+ ./ote0 (e sure to check -ith a librarian 1 o What other resources .#rint ) non'#rint1 are available in this area+ o What are the date.s1 of coverage of the site and site's#ecific docu"ents+ o !o- co"#rehensive is this site+ 2 What are the link selection criteria if any+ 2 Are the links relevant and a##ro#riate for the site+ 2 3s the site in-ard'focused, #ointing out-ard, or both+ 2 3s there an a##ro#riate balance bet-een in-ard'#ointing links .4inlinks4 i e , -ithin the sa"e site1) out-ard' #ointing links .4outlinks4 i e , to other sites1+ 2 Are the links co"#rehensive or do they %ust #rovide a sa"#ler+ 2 What do the links offer that is not easily available in other sources+ 2 Are the links evaluated in any -ay+ 2 3s there an a##ro#riate range of 3nternet resources '' e g , links to go#hers+ 2 3s "ulti"edia a##ro#riately incor#orated+ * !o- valuable is the infor"ation #rovided in the Web ,age .intrinsic value1+ 5ource ) &ate * Who is the author or #roducer+ * What is the authority or e6#ertise of the individual or grou# that created this site+ o !o- kno-ledgeable is the individual or grou# on the sub%ect "atter of the site+ o 3s the site s#onsored or co's#onsored by an individual or grou# that has created other Web sites+ * 3s any sort of bias evident+ * When -as the Web ite" #roduced+ * When -as the Web ite" "ounted+ * When -as the Web ite" last revised+ * !o- u# to date are the links+ * !o- reliable are the links7 are there blind links, or references to sites -hich have "oved+ * 3s contact infor"ation for the author or #roducer included in the docu"ent+ 5tructure * &oes the docu"ent follo- good gra#hic design #rinci#les+ * &o the gra#hics and art serve a function or are they decorative+ * &o the icons clearly re#resent -hat is intended+ * &oes the te6t follo- basic rules of gra""ar, s#elling and literary co"#osition+ * 3s there an ele"ent of creativity, and does it add to or detract fro" the docu"ent itself+ * Can the te6t stand alone for use in line'"ode .te6t only1 Web bro-sers as -ell as "ulti"edia bro-sers, or is there an o#tion for line'"ode bro-sers+ * 3s attention #aid to the needs of the disabled '' e g , large #rint and gra#hics o#tions7 audio7 alternative te6t for gra#hics+ * Are links #rovided to Web 4sub%ect trees4 or directories '' lists of sub%ect'arranged Web sources+ * !o- usable is the site+ Can visitors get the infor"ation they need -ithin a reasonable nu"ber of links .#referably 8 or fe-er clicks1+ 9ther * 3s a##ro#riate interactivity available+

:.e"bedded in1 the Web site+ Created by Esther Grassian.er"ission is granted for unli"ited non'co""ercial use of this guide .* When it is necessary to send confidential infor"ation out over the 3nternet. is encry#tion . a secure coding syste"1 available+ !o.i e .<= .secure is it+ * Are there links to search engines or is a search engine attached to . UCLA College Library.