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Information Literacy Modules
  • What is a blog?

    A blog is an online source in any language or length read through a Web browser:

    • Composed of dated "posts"
    • In reverse chronological order
    • May contain "blog" in the title
    • May show a blog service (Blogger, Movable Type, TypePad, WordPress) in the URL

  • What are the characteristics of a blog?

    Blog content can be fiction or nonfiction. The writing may resemble another genre:

    • Editorial
    • Interview
    • Journal or diary
    • Letter
    • News article
    • Opinion column
    • Research report
    • Review

  • What kinds of media are included in a blog?

    While many blogs include visual elements, others are composed almost entirely of images, animation or sound.

  • How is a blog different from a Web page?

    A blog is designed to stimulate conversations by:

    • Allowing users to comment
    • Including ratings and surveys

    A blogger develops an interactive community of readers and other bloggers by:

    • Encouraging readers to comment
    • Replying to comments
    • Responding to other bloggers

  • What is a blog hub?

    A group of blogs hosted on the same domain such as:

    • Subject-specific community (e.g., Science Blogs, AJBlogCentral)
    • Media publisher's website (New York Times Blogs)
    • Social or professional networking site (e.g., Linkedin, Facebook, Google+)
    • Closed community site (e.g., Ning, Edmodo)

  • Where do I find the blogger's name?

    A blogger's real name, handle, or screen name (alias) appears:

    • At the top of the post near a publication date
    • At the bottom of the post
    • In a sidebar or an "About," "Contact," or "Profile" link
    • Next to the words "Posted by"

    Multi-author blogs have posts written by different authors.

  • What if I can't find a name?

    Governments, associations, agencies, companies, and other organizations can author blogs, but posts may be unsigned.

    Tip: An organization's name is entered in the last-name field in NoodleTools.

  • How do I evaluate a contributor's credentials?

    A contributor's credentials should relate to your subject. A credible blogger might:

    • Have a degree, do scholarly research or work in this field
    • Be part of a group or organization with relevant goals
    • Have demonstrated knowledge of this subject (e.g., author of a book)

    Every author has opinions and a worldview that shape his or her treatment of a subject. As you read the blog post, ask yourself how the author's views and affiliations might affect the presentation or omission of information.

  • How do I evaluate a contributor's expertise?

    A contributor's expertise should relate to your subject. A credible blogger might:

    • Share first-hand observations of relevant events and people
    • Analyze new developments or research in this field
    • Offer a unique perspective or in-depth information
    • Display knowledge about this subject in regular posts (check the tag cloud)

  • How do I fact-check the blogger's information?

    Follow the trail of evidence to see who the writer links to, quotes or references:

    • Has the blogger represented the original source accurately?
    • Are the blogger's sources credible and relevant?
    • Is data presented fully or "cherry picked" to suppress contradictory evidence?
    • How strong is the evidence? If there is a study or poll, is the sample size large enough to represent the population accurately?

    Corroborate: Compare information from different media (e.g., magazines, reports, newspapers, journals) to gather diverse viewpoints.

  • How do I evaluate an argument in a post?

    How strong is the author's logic?

    • Does the evidence support the blogger's claims?
    • Do the blogger's conclusions follow logically from the analysis?

    What is the blogger's rhetorical purpose (e.g., to persuade, inform, describe)?

    • Does the blogger's word choice and language expose this goal?
    • Is more than one viewpoint fully represented and fairly considered?

    How does this source fit?

    • Does this add a different point of view?
    • Does this make sense, given what I already know?

  • How do I recognize the title of a blog?

    • Appears at the top of the page, sometimes in a banner
    • Remains the same for each entry
    • May contain the word "blog"

  • What is the post's title?

    Look for the title of a post near the top of the entry next to the posting date.

  • Who is the publisher or sponsor of a blog?

    Any company, government, nongovernmental organization, nonprofit or group can publish or sponsor a blog.

    Where do I find the publisher's or sponsor's name?

    • Next to the copyright symbol at the bottom of the page
    • On an "About," "Legal," or "Privacy" page
    • Use Whois to find the "Registrant"

    Tip: Do not use the blogging service (e.g., Blogger, Movable Type, TypePad, WordPress) as the publisher or sponsor.

  • Where do I find the publication date?

    Gather elements for your citation from the database record or print magazine.

    • Near the title or byline
    • At the bottom of the post before the comments

    Tip: Do not use the date next to the copyright symbol (the footer).

  • Which URL can I use?

    The URL in the browser's address bar may not be permanent. To display a stable link to the blog post:

    • Click on "Permalink" at the bottom of a post
    • Click on the post's title to display the direct URL in the address bar

  • How do I cite a blog post in a database?

    Option #1: Locate the blog post on the Web and cite it directly

    Option #2: If published as part of a print anthology, cite it as a short work in an anthology in the database

    Option #3: Cite it as original material in the database