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Information Literacy Modules
  • What is a Web page?

    A Web page is an online source of any length or language.

    A Web page appears in many formats:

    • PowerPoint slides (.ppt)
    • Adobe flash file (.swf)
    • Adobe document (.PDF)
    • Hypertext markup (.htm, .html)
    • Prezi , Slideshare, etc.
    • Google Doc or Word (.doc)

  • What is a Web site?

    All the Web pages within one domain are called a Web site.

    Tip: The Web site's name is usually on the upper left. (To verify, cut the URL back to the "first slash.")

  • What is the difference between a Web Project and a Web site?

    A Web Project is a section of a Web site that has:

    • A topical focus
    • A section title

    An academic Web Project may include primary sources and scholarly essays curated by editors.

  • How do I evaluate the author?

    The author's expertise and credentials should relate to your subject. A credible contributor might:

    • Hold a degree in this subject
    • Study or do research on this topic
    • Work in a related field
    • Write about this topic regularly
    • Have first-hand knowledge
    • Have participated in, or observed, events and people

  • How do I evaluate the publisher?

    Why would this organization publish this information?

    • What are the organization's goals (e.g., "About," "FAQ," "Media Center")?
    • What expertise do people (e.g., Board members, staff) have?
    • What are the goals of organizations that support or fund this site?

    Tip: Search [link:URL] to make inferences about why others value this information.

  • Is recent information important for my topic?

    Information on science, current events and living people changes rapidly. What is the publication date?

  • How do I fact-check the information?

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

    • Has the author presented the original source information accurately?
    • Is data presented fully or is it "cherry picked" to suppress contradictory evidence?
    • Are the author's sources credible?
    • How strong is the evidence? How many people does the evidence involve? (e.g., individual anecdotes vs. large scientific study)

    Corroborate: Verify information using different types of sources and organizations to gather different viewpoints.

  • How do I evaluate the credibility of the author's argument?

    What is the author's purpose (e.g., persuade, inform, describe)? How do you know?

    • What is the author's thesis or main idea?
    • How strong is the evidence supporting the claims?
    • Does the author consider other views?
    • Whose perspective might be missing?
    • Do the conclusions follow logically from the analysis? Could I interpret things differently?

    How does this source fit?

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

  • How do I cite a Web page?

    Look for the following elements:

    • Title of the Web page
    • Title of the Web site
    • Author (Do not use a generalized name like "Staff Authors." Organizations may be listed as appropriate.)
    • Publication or update date
    • Publisher or sponsor

  • Which URL should I use?

    Test your URL in a different browser (e.g., Firefox vs. Chrome) to verify that it is stable.

    • A stable URL often ends in .htm, .html, a slash, or no file extension.

    A URL that is long and complex, or specific to your session, will not work for every reader:

    • A URL with the word "ezproxy" or "session ID" and your school's name will only work if you're logged in.

    Don't evaluate your source by the URL.

    • ANY company or organization can buy ANY top-level domain (.com, .org or .net)