Not all information found online is credible. The Internet is full of false data, fake news, biased information, and phony material. Common Sense Media defines information literacy as, "the ability to identify, find, evaluate, and use information effectively." In part 1 of this module, you will develop skills to locate credible sources of information.
Ask these questions to better identify the quality of a source:
- "Where is the content published?" "What kind of web site is it?"
- "What is the purpose of the site?"
- "Who is the author of the information and what are their qualifications?"
- "Is the information presented in a balanced way or could the author be biased?"
- "When was the information published?"
WHAT CAN A URL TELL YOU ABOUT A SOURCE?
The URL (web address) of a web site can reveal a lot about whether or not the source is credible:
- Is the organization or company reputable? In other words, is the source a trusted business, college, or research institute?
- What is the extension at the end of the domain name? All web addresses end in either two or three letters. Here are some of the more common extensions:
- com = company or commercial business
- edu = educational institution, like colleges
- k12 = a school within the U.S.
- org = usually a non-profit organization
- gov = government agency
- net = network
You can normally trust sites and pages maintained by colleges, schools, or governments (.edu, .k12, .gov). Beware of those operated by businesses or organizations (.com, .org, or .net) because their information can be very skewed or biased. Remember, most are trying to sell a product.
For example, the URL www.nasa.gov is the web address of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Since NASA is the official space agency of the United States government, it is a trusted institution. We can also see from the extension (.gov) that it is an official government site, which also gives it credibility.
THE CRAAP TEST
Use the CRAAP method to evaluate whether or not a site is a credible source of information. Look for Currency, Relevance, Authority, Accuracy, and Purpose when checking a source. This video, which was created by the library staff at Seneca College in Toronto, explains how.
It is also important to know how to use and share media properly and to give credit to the creator of the information or product. In the second part of this module, you will learn about copyright and citing your sources.
COPYRIGHT AND FAIR USE
Always remember to...
- Check who owns it
- Get permission to use it
- Give credit to the creator
- Buy it (if necessary)
- Use it responsibly
CITE YOUR SOURCES
Always share where you find the information that you use in reports and projects. Do this by creating a citation that includes details such as
- Date of publication
Visit www.easybib.com for more tips on creating citations.
GOOGLE'S USAGE RIGHTS FILTER
Some images are copyrighted; others are free for you to use without getting the creator's permission. Google offers a special way to search for images so that you can filter by their usage rights. Watch the video clip to see how. Make the video full size in order to see this process more clearly.
Were the members of the famous rock group Led Zeppelin rip-off artists? Watch Kirby Ferguson's "Everything is a Remix" video at https://vimeo.com/14912890 for an interesting look at how artists have been "sampling" the music of other artists through the decades.
Google for Education. "Savvy Searching." Online video clip. YouTube. YouTube, 25 June 2017. Web. 25 July 2017.
Seneca Libraries. "Evaluating Websites." Online video clip. YouTube. YouTube, 18 July 2013. Web. 20 July 2017.
Common Sense Media. "Copyright and Fair Use Animation." Online video clip. Common Sense Media. Web. 20 July 2017.
Imagine Easy Solutions. "Citations for Beginners." Online video clip. YouTube, 29 May 2014. Web. 25 July 2017.
The following images from the Noun Project are in use on this page:
- Information by Arthur Shlain
- electric guitar by Marvdrock