Great Websites for Kids
Great Websites for Kids is a compilation of exemplary websites geared to children from birth to age 14. Suggested sites are evaluated by the Great Websites for Kids Committee members of the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association.
A How-to Guide for Researchers
You've heard the HYPE…"The Internet has EVERYTHING" But is that the truth? Does it have everything, or just a lot of things? Is everything useful? Is everything the truth? The answer to that is definitely "NO" But how do you tell a good Web site from a flashy bad Web site? Which Web sites will help you with your research, and which ones will give you a bunch of bogus "facts"?
Here are some guidelines to help you choose between useful Web sites and GARBAGE:
The Five W's
WHO: Look at the author of your Web site. Is it by a famous, well-respected organization like UC Berkeley, or the US Government? Web sites that have good authors don't try to hide this fact. Is the author Joe Blow from Anytown, USA? Is no author even listed? Beware of Web sites that don't let you know who has written them or what their qualifications are! Look at the URL (address) to get more information about the authors of your Web site. Web sites from universities end with .edu. US Government sites end with .gov. Personal Web sites or company Web sites usually end in .com. Organizations (like the Sierra Club, or the San Francisco Public Library) usually end in .org.
WHEN: Look at the date of your Web site. When was the Web site created? Does the Web site say when it was last updated? Is the information old or new? How much does that matter for your research project? Are the links to other sites still working? If they're not, you can guess that the author is not working on this Web page anymore and the rest of the information might be out of date, too.
WHAT: What is the goal of the Web site? What is the viewpoint? Is it to give people facts, or is it trying to sell something? Is the Web site made to inform? Is it made to persuade? Or is it made to make you laugh? Sometimes Web authors make sites with completely incorrect information as a joke! Many Web sites are trying to sell you a trip to the Bahamas, or some new medicine. Is the Web site you're looking at made to help people do research or talk them into buying something?
WHERE: Where does the information come from? Most authors of good Web sites will tell you where they got their information. Did they do their own research? Did they read books, magazines or newspapers? Do they give you a bibliography (list) of the sources they used? Is the Web site written by an organization that is famous for their research (like a medical school or a science organization)? Beware of authors that don't tell you where they got their information.
WHY: Why is this information useful to you? Does it answer your questions? Does it help you write your report? Or is the information not really related to your research? The best information in the world is not useful if it doesn't answer the questions that YOU have. Maybe you need to look for another site that discusses what you are looking for.
Finally, remember that ALL the information you may need is not on the Web. Ask your librarian to help you find the best information that will work for your research.
Inspired by the work of Kathy Schrock. For more information about Web site evaluation, see her Web site at: http://discoveryschool.com/schrockguide/eval.html