Week 4 Find and Evaluate

Class discussion

I have little doubt that you frequently hear about problems, such as the poor quality and accuracy of information, and the information overload on the Web. About the information overload, sources below (#1 and #2) will give balanced perspectives (they say overload is a ‘wrong’ perspective. #3 and #4 clarify that the major innovations for the next generation of the Web are driven by ‘post-filtering’ and search algorithms (to improve search effectiveness and efficiency). On Monday and Wednesday, everyone will compare two different search procedures for his/her own topic of interests – online library database search vs. Web search (e.g., using Google search, Google scholar, YouTube, Slideshare.net, or professional association web site). Then on Wednesday, you will do a scavenger hunt to find and improve a rubric to evaluate the quality of retrieved search results using Rubistar (last resource on the list below). The goal is to learn how to find quality information when you have a topic that you don’t know much, and how to evaluate the quality of such sources retrieved.

As a class, it will be also very useful to brainstorm which filtering (e.g., like, # of views, tags, rating, indices, impact factor, selection of reactions on Slashdot.org, etc.) exist and how it has evolved to deal with information quality/overload, and how they shape/influence/affect “authority” or “expertise”. If you like challenges, I like to state that some sees the next generation Web will focus more on managing exploding information and do quality control (Artificial Intelligence and algorithms are major drivers). If you think about location-based searches/services or community/group based organization (e.g., on facebook), these are all to make information management and learning more effective.

Your comment by Sunday midnight should answer how Web search vs. traditional (online or on-campus) library search compare in terms of quality, effectiveness, and convenience, and how the quality/accuracy should be evaluated.

  1. We’re on information overload by Thomas Washington.
  2. It’s Not Information Overload. It’s Filter Failure” by Clay Shirky. A little under 24 minutes. The problem of information overload, different perspectives can reveal positive aspects of abundant participants: Cognitive Surplus (by Clay Shirky, 13 min, and Captcha project: Massive-scale Online Collaboration by Luis von Ahn, 16 min)
  3. Tips for Handling Information Overload: Too Much Content by Dawn Foster (with Google Reader is gone as the most popular RSS tool, alternatives can be found here).
  4. The Chronicle of Higher Ed: The New Metrics of Scholarly Authority by Michael Jensen for subscribers only. For an earlier and freely available version, see Authority 2.0 and 3.0: The Collision of Authority and Participation in Scholarly Communications by Michael Jensen.
  5. The iPad and Information’s Third Age by William Rankin
Web tools/services:
Items 1~3 are information organization tools that allow browser customization. Zotero compares to a 3rd party citation tool called Endnote. Anytime you do online search, you can create a summary note. Rubistar is a great tool to create an evaluation/grading rubric. If you ever need to create a rubric to evaluate products or processes, it is a great, free, and easy to use tool.
  • Netvibes – personalized dashboard publishing platform for the Web
  • Protopage also allows to create a personalized homepage
  • Zotero – A tool that helps gather, organize, and analyze sources and then share the results of your research
  • Rubistar – A free evaluation rubric builder with a search feature (if you create a web or information search task, and trainees or students create artifacts (list of useful sources, summary of sources, etc., you would want to evaluate their work. Don’t reinvent the same wheel, chance is, if your topic is popular, Rubistar might have something you can adopt and even contribute. WebQuest is the most popular activity in K12 (sort of scavenger hunt and evaluation of the source).
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7 thoughts on “Week 4 Find and Evaluate”

  1. Web search have a huge advantage when looking for a specific book or journal. It saves time for looking for book. Also when looking for journals in a field, reading the name and description is enough to decided to look inside or not. But when looking books in a library, perhaps needs to read several pages of the book to determine if needs it or not. But it’s not accurate every time using the web. You may need to look through thousands of journals or books to find the one you need. The accuracy of web search and traditional search is barely the same but the web search is much convenience than the tradition search.

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  2. When I was going to school, I was allowed to use the internet to write my research papers. However, I was also to use a minimum amount of sources from the library either at school or at the local library. Here’s what I have noticed from both of these types of sources.
    Books – when researching non-fiction – usually have the best quality and accuracy because of all of the review they have to go through before they hit the printers. The effectiveness, while great in the 90s and early 2000s, has gone down because of the amount of information there is in today’s world. The problem with this in current society that the information in the books doesn’t have a long lifespan as information is becoming outdated faster and faster. The convenience, in our current society, is not as great because one has to go find the book and then search through it – and may realize that they have the wrong book and start the process all over again.
    Websites are much more convenient because all one has to do is get online, type in a few words, and glance over a website’s homepage before deciding if it is relevant or not. However, it is hard to find quality and accuracy because anyone can write anything and not have any review of it before putting it online.
    For both libraries and websites, the way they should be evaluated is by whom they are written by first and how high they rate second. I would trust a doctor telling me that I have cancer over some stranger on the street. I would also trust a history expert’s retelling of a small battle rather than a redneck’s. Even if a book or a website is extremely popular doesn’t mean that it is right.

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  3. Internet is one of the important tool in the present day. In the past our time, most people spent many time on books and references to get sources that allow them to complete their research or to get information that they want such as reading or surfing the daily news. When I was studying in high school the web search was limited in our school and my teacher asked me to write search paper which must contained two pages and has two references. Actually, I spent much time on research in books and magazines to get the sources related to my research paper. However, with web search, we need to spend short time to get your source or any important information. Web search enabled us the opportunity to look for any types of sources such as journals and academic sources. It is more comfortable to save our time with looking to many types of books or any thing else. Overall, web search enabled us to access to every thing or to find new technology around the world.

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  4. I believe web searches online can definitely cause “information overload” or “filter failure” and are huge problems these days. With technology in the palm of our hands, literally, these searches are sometimes done within seconds of thinking it needs to be done. For example: Imagine you are talking to a friend about ________ and were wondering who invented the _______. One of you can quickly pull out a phone and type in “Who invented the _______?” in Google Search and you get one answer that is highlighted by Google. In a situation like this, more than likely you will just go with that answer. Do a little more research and you will see that that information may not even be right. Web search optimization brings up websites in Google based on popularity. Popularity does not equal to “truth”.
    In this situation, you may want to look at more traditional searches because these sources have been through a sort of QA/QC (quality assurance/quality control) process before publishing, making it more valuable.

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  5. I believe that doing research and school work has changed a lot during this decade. I think that books were very essential to doing research because they had a lot of information in one book you didn’t have to go website to website to find different information on the same topic. I do believe that books are now out of date because it takes so long to get all the information and to publish it in a book and have the library then attain that book for schools. In middle school we would always need to have at least three book references but even then in internet was always used to find quotes from certain books. The Web on the other hand has become such a powerful tool in the school environment. There are thousands of sites and people asking the same thing every second every day. The downfall is anyone can make a free website or a comment on a blog and that information isn’t always accurate. I also think that many can also now use the library as an online source by searching scholarly articles. I believe that the web allows fast and mostly accurate searches but I do believe that books are still essential in certain areas.

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  6. I think that the use of web search has made it easier for people to find information in a matter of minutes or seconds. But it can also be false information. The internet is used world wide and everyone has stated their opinion on a topic or posted information that they felt was correct but it goes against the truth or actual facts. The quality of web search cant be trusted all the time if you cant find a credible source I wouldn’t use it to source anything. I think the traditional library search is okay. although it takes up time and is frustrating if you cannot find what you need. It is the best way to find actual hard evidence of something you want to source if you don’t trust the credibility of web search.

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  7. When it comes to any search engine web searching has a big plus when it comes to looking for a set book, document or journal that you want. This saves time to look for the book in the library of course plus if you know the ISBN code you can look it up on almost any purchasing site as well. If you find the set topic discussed, such as AECT, you can find many articles, books, documents and journals that have the topic in common. Looking through books within a library can be hard because its a harder way of a search engine. You are your own search engine and you can’t always be right. Of course the internet isn’t always the best answer as well; you may have to take a lot of man hours looking through all of the documents/journals/articles the internet has to offer about set topic. However there are better websites within the internet that can perform better searches to better the chance of finding the best article/journal/document you’re wanting.

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