Comparing Different Means of Identifying Useful and Accurate Sources of Information from the Internet Essay

Topic: Write a short report (approximately 1000 words) comparing different means of identifying useful and accurate sources of information from the Internet. Issues that you might cover are: – How to search the Internet – Most effective search engines for academic purposes – How to identify good quality material on the Internet. Introduction Imagine you are working on your assignment at the midnight. Unfortunately, you realize that you need to refer on a book to continue your work. If it happened in thirty years ago, you would have to wait until the next day to either purchase from a book store or borrow from a library.

However, with the invention of the Internet, you now can just access to the Internet with your computer and search for the available online version. Undeniably, the Internet saves the time to obtain a particular piece of information. The Internet creates a new platform for information exchange. With the appropriate equipment, people can freely publish their own articles and share their views through this channel. According to a recent Web Server Survey in October 2010, over two hundred and thirty millions of websites were indexed (Netcraft, 2010).

In fact, the actual number of websites available could be far from this number. It is clear that there is extremely huge amount of information available for searchers. However, since there is no official authority to govern the whole platform, fake and unreal information may be posted. To prevent from use the misleading information, it is important to have the technique of identifying quality information. The aim of this report is to provide the way of identifying the useful and accurate information for readers by comparing two approaches of information evaluation.

Search on the Internet Before discussing those two approaches, it will be a good idea to understand the basic way of searching in the Internet. As the Internet contains large number of websites, people always search the information through ‘website agents’, the search engines. There are several search engines commonly used, including Google, Yahoo! Search, Exalead, etc. By typing the keywords in a search engine, searchers are usually able to find several websites from that database which are relevant to their interests.

However, in some cases, it is not possible to obtain the relevant information from the common search engines. For example, when you are looking for an academic journal, you may not be to find from Yahoo! Search. In this case, you need to use the search engines for academic purposes. Several examples of effective search engines for academic purposes include Google scholar, ScienceDirect, and Informaworld. It is vital to know the required type of information before going to the Internet to search. Information Evaluation The Internet provides us with a new source of information collection.

However, with the flooding of misleading information, students may face difficulty in identifying quality information. In this part, two approaches of information evaluation will be discussed, including the CARS Checklist and Kapoun’s approach. The CARS Checklist This Checklist is suggested by Harris (2007). ‘CARS’ are the abbreviation of four evaluation criteria, including ‘Credibility’, ‘Accuracy’, ‘Reasonableness’, and‘Support’, for evaluating information quality. ‘Credibility’ refers the evidence of authenticity and reliability. Accuracy’ means whether the information is up to date, comprehensive, and factual. ‘Reasonableness’ concerns the fairness and consistency of the information. ‘Support’ refers the source and corroboration of the information. By examining these four criteria in the list, it is possible to locate the useful information. Kapoun’s Approach Kapoun (1998) recommended that five different criteria can be used for the Web evaluation, including ‘Accuracy’, ‘Authority’, ‘Objectivity’, ‘Currency’, and ‘Coverage’. The writer also suggests several questions for searchers to consider with evaluating each criterion.

For example, when deciding whether a particular piece of information meet ‘Accuracy’, the searcher may consider if it is possible to contact the author. In the writer’s view, if the piece of information has a higher quality, it should be able to meet more criteria. Comparison for Two Approaches Both the CARS Checklist and Kapoun’s approach are used to distinguish the high quality information from poor quality information. Two approaches have several similar areas. For example, both approaches consider the author’s credentials, the accuracy of the information (i. . whether it is up to date), and the linkage of the information to other references. However, by comparing two approaches, it is possible to see that the CARS Checklist demonstrate a more comprehensive and logical approach for evaluating the quality information. Moreover, the writer also suggests several indicators of lack of each criterion. Although the criteria presented by these two approaches are not thesame, the fundamental elements to evaluate the information between two approaches are quite similar.

Conclusion There are numerous of approaches to identify the useful and accurate information from the Internet. In this report, only two of them are selected to compare. Although these two approaches are presented in different ways, we are still able to recognize the similar elements to evaluate the quality of information from them. To summarize, in order to obtain the quality information, efforts are needed to evaluate the author, the publisher, and information itself.

References

Harris, T. (2007, June 15). Evaluating Internet Research Sources. [Online]. (URL http://www. virtualsalt. om/evalu8it. htm). (Accessed 25 October 2010). Howe, W. (2010, March 24). An anecdotal history of the people and communities that brought about the Internet and the Web. [Online]. (URL http://www. walthowe. com/navnet/history. html). (Accessed 25 October 2010). Kapoun, J. (1998). Teaching undergrads WEB evaluation: A guide for library instruction. [Online]. (URL http://www. ala. org/ala/mgrps/divs/acrl/publications/crlnews/1998/jul/teachingun dergrads. cfm). C&RL New, 59 (7). (Accessed 25 October 2010). Netcraft. (2010, October 12). October 2010 Web Server Survey. [Online]. (URL