Monday, August 2, 2010

Evaluating Websites

Developing the ability to evaluating web pages has become an essential skill today because of the overwhelming amount of information available on the web, and the fact that it is easy for anyone to publish information on the web so we all need skills to establish how credible different authors /sites are. We need to be able to evaluate websites and guide patrons to do this so that the most reliable and accurate information resources are selected.

Briefly criteria to evaluate a web page include:
Audience – who is the site for?
Purpose - why was it established?
Authority – what is the expertise or reputation of the creator / author?
Content and scope
Currency and timeliness
Accuracy –can the facts / information be verified?

In module 6 topic 1 two websites I used were What should I read next, and The Book Sear.

The site ‘What should I read next’ (WSIRN).
Purpose and audience: WSIRN produces recommendations of what to read next based purely on users taste so is aimed at a general audience. It represents the mass opinion of its users about books. The expectation is that recommendations should get better as the database grows.
WSIRN is the brainchild of Andrew Chapman and Paul Lenz at Thoughtplay Ltd. - They create interesting online projects that get the average person involved.
There are email contact details available via the Thoughtplay site through a security coded link.
This site was relaunched February 2010 with the major new feature being the ability to look up books by ISBN.
I believe that this site achieves it objective to provide a quick recommendation, you only need to enter one book; confirm that WSIRN have got the right one on the page, and then you can click the WSIRN button to get some recommendations. It would be okay to suggest this as one of several sites that patrons could visit for a next read suggestion.

The Book Sear
I had no success using this site to look for a next read recommendation in Module 6 topic 1, but today I searched Harry Potter and for results received 2 lists of suggestions one from Amazon and one from LibraryThing.
This site was developed by Apt which is a design, technology and marketing consultancy, with specific expertise in planning and producing web, film, mobile and new media projects for clients in publishing, business, and the arts.
There is information about APT including blog, portfolio, clients, expertise, products, reading, information about Apt and contacts, but it was not easy to find information on dates etc.
I would be cautious about using this site because of the limited success I had in using it.

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