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USD Information Literacy Lessons: Page 6

The broad focus of these lessons is understanding sources of information, including examples that can help you learn how to access information sources at USD. Each lesson is dedicated to a specific element of information competency.

How Selective is the Web?



Web Pages

 Editors review and select; process can be long involving many rewrites Editors review and select; articles can go through several rewrites No one/Everyone is "in charge"
Publishers try to maintain reputations for quality Publishers try to maintain reputations for quality Anyone can create and "publish" anything; there are no standards
Libraries select based on reviews (written by experts) Scholarly journals select articles based on peer review Search engines are not selective on the basis of quality
Libraries select based on publishers' repuations Periodical indexes select journals based on quality Only subject indexes select sites based on quality

In other words ....

  • The information found in resources (whether in paper or electronically based) is only as reliable as the scrutiny (i.e. editorial review) it receives from editors/experts before publication.
  • Books and articles are generally subject to this review and are therefore usually more reliable reference sources.
  • Books and journals are selected by librarians for quality.
  • Web sites are not subject to any review/selection process and should be treated critically by the user.
    It is important to remember that there is no oversight committee, organization, or company that looks at or verifies the truth, reliability, validity, currency, or quality of the information put on to the Web.  

You must be your own editor, publisher, and librarian when you do Web research.


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