Week Three - Accessing and Evaluating Information


The End Product
Your desired end product, in this case your web portfolio, will play a role in determining your information need. Your information need is the multimedia topic you are researching for this course. The web portfolio will include the information you find about the multimedia topic on which you focus. Once you know your information need, you can formulate strategies for finding the information. This week's focus is on accessing and evaluating information.

During this week, you will begin gathering information sources to include in your portfolio. These sources might cover information about In other words, begin gathering any sources you believe will help you. Be sure to keep a running list of all the relevant information sources you identify along the way, including all the appropriate citation information that you will need to cite your sources in APA format. You may want your portfolio to include these relevant information sources.

Accessing Free & Fee-based Information on the Web
It is important to understand how to access both free and fee-based areas on the Web. The free areas may be searched through search engines or directories. These are covered in How to Search the Internet, which you read last week. The APSU Librarians recommend that you use the search engine (tool) Google to search the free information areas on the Web. It is wise to select one search engine and learn it well. Find the Help link on the search engine opening page and carefully review it to become a better searcher.

Some of the fee-based information sources (e.g. periodical databases) found on the Web are available to you as an APSU student through the APSU Library website. Specifically, you will be learning how to use InfoTrac (formerly called InfoTrac) and ERIC, both of which are available in the Library website's Jump to Database box. Just to give you an idea of how much fee-based information sources cost, a subscription to InfoTrac costs a library over $10,000 per year for a site license.

Remember as you use search engines such as Google, and databases such as InfoTrac and ERIC, that online help or search tips exist within these sources. You can learn advanced search techniques, such as truncation, phrase searching, and limiting, which will help you pinpoint the exact information you are seeking. We can help you if you don't understand these concepts.

Evaluating Information Resources
Once you identify information sources, you must evaluate their usefulness to your portfolio, as well as whether they are high quality sources. Quality control is a reality in most print sources, which undergo a rigorous editing process. However, anyone can post information on the Web. Moreover, there are even cases where misinformation and disinformation have purposefully been posted to the Web. Go to the University of Winnipeg Library's Media Literacy website to find out the difference between misinformation and disinformation.

This quote from an IBM advertisement in Time Magazine, November 24, 1997, says it all.

What's the difference between a little kid with a web site and a major corporation with one? Maybe nothing, maybe everything, but you won't know unless you examine the sites you find very carefully.

Two Assignments:

1st Assignment - Required Readings & Threaded Discussion Questions

Questions will be posted to the Discussion Board on the date indicated below. Prior to entering the threaded discussion with your classmates and instructors, you should carefully read the required readings and consider the assigned questions. You are required to be an active participant in all of the threaded discussions.

Required Readings Related to Evaluating Information Sources -try to complete by Tuesday, September 18

How to Evaluate Journal Articles

How to Evaluate Books

How to Evaluate a Web Page

Five Criteria for Evaluating Web Pages

ICYouSee: T is for Thinking

Go to the Discussion Board on Tuesday, September 18, and begin participating in the class discussion regarding these questions:

2nd Assignment Evaluating Sources - complete source evaluations by Monday, 9/24, 8am CST

Find three sources which will provide you with information that will help you complete your web portfolio. The three required sources include

You are to submit a 100-word annotation about each source in which you state

Post your three annotations, including source citations in APA format, to the Digital Drop Box by 8am CST on Monday, September 24, 2001.

Tip: Use the Citing Sources in APA Format, which was developed by Anne Berwind, Head of Information Services, and is available on the APSU Library website.

Remember to use the Help information within the three search tools, InfoTrac, ERIC and Google. Also, the APSU librarians have posted InfoTrac Help information, ERIC Help information and ERIC Documents Online Help information on the Library website.

One of the goals of this course is for you to learn about information sources and tools available via the APSU Library website. That is why use of InfoTrac and ERIC are required.

If you have trouble finding information on your topic, email Lori Buchanan <buchananl@apsu.edu> or DeAnne Luck <luckdl@apsu.edu >.