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USD Information Literacy Lessons: Page 22

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.

Criteria for Evaluation: The Publisher

What type of organization is the publisher?  (Check the domain extension!)

gov U.S. Government .us United States
.mil U.S. Defense Department .ca Canada
.edu Educational Institution .uk United Kingdom
.org Nonprofit Organization .jp Japan
.com Commercial Company .it Italy
.net Internet Service Providers .de Germany
.ac Academic .au Australia
.plc Public Limited Company .mx Mexico
.sch School .in India

Publishers, like authors, can have agendas, and you can use the domain extensions of web site URL's as an indicator of potentially biased web pages. For instance, be suspicious of .org sites, since the publishers will be organizations that exist to promote a particular action or to persuade the public of its opinions, which might be extreme or dangerous. Similarly, .com web sites exist to sell products, and the information there might be incomplete or untrue.

The most reliable information is contained on .edu or .ac sites, since educational or academic institutions are the most interested in providing true, valid, and reliable information.

  • What authority does the publisher have to put up a web site on the topic in question?
  • What role does the publisher play in discussions on the subject?
  • Does the publisher have an agenda?
  • Who is the Webmaster? Does s/he have links to organizations with an agenda?

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