Web Wisdom: How to Evaluate and Create Information Quality on the Web

Web Wisdom: How to Evaluate and Create Information Quality on the Web

Web Wisdom: How to Evaluate and Create Information Quality on the Web

Web Wisdom: How to Evaluate and Create Information Quality on the Web

Synopsis

Web Wisdomis an essential reference for anyone needing to evaluate or establish information quality on the World Wide Web. The book includes easy to use checklists for step-by-step quality evaluations of virtually any Web page. The checklists can also be used by Web authors to help them ensure quality information on their pages. In addition,Web Wisdomaddresses other important issues, such as understanding the ways that advertising and sponsorship may affect the quality of Web information. It features:
• a detailed discussion of the items involved in evaluating Web information;
• checklists tailored to the creation and evaluation of specific Web page types (advocacy, business, informational, news, personal, entertainment);
• over 40 screen captures illustrating the principles presented in the book;
• discussion of copyright issues and meta tags; and
• a glossary of terms and bibliography.

Excerpt

Robert Danford Wolfgram Memorial Library, Widener University

The enormous number and variety of Web sites today offer unparalleled amounts of information. the relative ease and economy with which individuals and institutions can offer information via the Web poses, however, quite a dilemma to the individual user of the Web: How does one find appropriate Web sites and, from those Web sites, how does one select the site or sites that are most appropriate for the immediate purpose? On the producer side of the equation, how does one ensure that the Web site under creation will present itself to users in a manner that will set it apart from other similar sites?

This work offers a model of evaluation that will assist users of the World Wide Web in selecting the best Web site for an intended purpose. Having a world of Web sites available is not necessarily a boon if one cannot judge which is the best among competing sites. Using techniques of critical thinking, the authors present tools that will help users examine all aspects of a Web site to determine its relative usefulness. Users of the Web must approach the plethora of Web sites with the skills of a good consumer to see if the product offered is indeed what it purports to be, to see if the site will fulfill the user's need, to see which of the sites available is the "best" in a given situation so that the user will be able count on the information or services offered. Just as one may act on his or her evaluation of a car or a suit of clothes, he or she may act on information found on the Web -- how can we be sure that the information is accurate and useful?

Producers of Web sites also will find this book valuable. They will want to know how competing sites may be evaluated or judged. Provision of information and services on the Web is done in a highly competitive arena -- how does the producer ensure that his or her site stands out among the crowd? What elements of a Web site design enhance the usefulness and authority of a site? What elements of design cheapen or weaken the authority of the site? Just as a user needs to know what elements of a Web site indicate potential value and usefulness, a producer needs to know what users will respond to as they make vital choices from the incredible variety of sites that compete for their attention.

Jan Alexander and Marsha Tate, reference librarians at Widener University's Wolfgram Memorial Library, offer a model of evaluation that uses an approach of establishing authority, accuracy, objectivity, currency, and coverage. They discuss specific problem areas that are unique to digital information and digital information presentation and that differ radically from print products.

They illustrate well the often hidden differences between types of pages (advertising pages vs. information pages vs. entertainment pages), differences that can . . .

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