Thursday, June 14, 2012

Useful questions for information literacy

Among ideas being explored for the focus of a news curation team, Steve Buttry and Mandy Jenkins raise the question of how to evaluate, verify and attribute the information they curate.

In my writings, I've previously addressed the importance of information literacy. I had the advantage of taking a course that addressed precisely this.

In Internet Technologies and Information Services (Libraries Unlimited, 2009), Joseph B. Miller poses questions that a reader can ask when evaluating a website. I find it useful to refer to:
  • What is the apparent purpose of the site?
  • What is the identity of the resource? For instance, is the author well-known or clearly identified? Is the information verifiable in other sources? How objective is the perspective? Is there an obvious agenda or bias?
  • What about the publisher of the content — is it clear who sponsors the page? What is the domain location of [the] site (gov, edu, com, etc.)?
  • How complete is the information? Does it represent original content or just point to other sites?
  • How current is the site? When was it created or last modified?
  • What is the apparent audience level?
  • Is there evidence of scholarship, such as citations that can be checked?
  • Has the page been reviewed or recognized as important by others?
In the matter of attribution, I agree that it is a good practice to provide a link to the original source. I appreciate blogging as an ideal platform for including these dynamic elements.

Verification can be accomplished at least in part by verification sites like Snopes, which bills itself as “the definitive Internet reference source for urban legends, folklore, myths, rumors, and misinformation.”

But it may also depend on the sort of follow-through that Jenkins describes as missing from a journalist’s recent use of a crowdsourced quote: “Had he even called this guy on the phone and asked a few key questions, the kid’s story would have likely fallen apart in a matter of minutes.”

No comments:

Post a Comment

Robust debate and even unusual opinions are encouraged, but please stay on-topic and be respectful. Comments are subject to review for personal attacks or insults, discriminatory statements, hyperlinks not directly related to the discussion and commercial spam.