WEEK SIX – Lecture



The concept of the word “infinity” has always intrigued me – something without a beginning or an end. The Internet, and therefore, the Web, is similar to an infinite spider-web. It has no beginning and no end. The word metamorphic is also descriptive of the Web. – It grows, and grows without any controls.


There is no government, corporation or organization controlling what is put on the Web. Granted, there are “cyber-cops” and some organizations attempting to censor certain materials – but, there is no actual Superior Authority. The Internet’s structure and lack of control is mind-boggling.


What this means to you is that when you locate what you feel is a “terrific” site, with earth-shattering information – take a deep breath – and think about what you are reading, and try to analyze the source of the information.


You will find hints – such as: a “designed by” or year, or corporation’s name at the bottom of the page. Re-read the page to see if what you are reading is really informative or is an advertisement – is it advocating a certain political, religious, or legal position? Look at the construction of the URL.


Just as you would not believe the news-worthiness of every headline in a newspaper you read while on a check-out line at the supermarket, don’t be naive when reading a Web page – even if it has beautiful graphics, it still may not be giving the whole truth.


Later, we will conduct some exercises where we will evaluate a couple of bogus Web pages, but, for now, let’s talk about just finding the pages you will need for your class project.


BUT – REMEMBER – finding is not evaluating!!!



There is no control over who and what is published on the Internet. Information from the computer is not necessarily better than information from a book. Think about whether:


            Whether the information has “literary” value. How plausible is it?


Was the page created by an individual (with a motive), or an organization (with a motive)?


Is the source “respected”? And, even if respected, will anyone care? Is it significant?


Is it rhetoric, or will it enlighten?


Whether there is an underlying advocacy behind the page? Have both sides of issues been presented convincingly?


Is it a “free” site, or has it been published by a well-known Corporation or University?


Look at the domain name (com), the URL (Universal Resource Locator), and the reputation of the Site owner.


Surf backwards to find the Web Host. Begin removing characters from the end of the URL until you get to the domain name. New domains are constantly be added. Some of the most common are:


            .com (commercial) check for motive

            .edu (education) can be substantive, or just a student’s page

.org (organization) may be advocating a position, or a non-profit agency

            .net (network) usually commercial or privately-owned

            .gov (government) usually the most dependable




RELIABILITY: When considering the reliability of a site, determine the intended  audience, the purpose of the site, assumptions or conclusions the author may be making, and what the author has relied upon when making those assumptions and conclusions. Then think about how this particular author compares to other writers on the subject.


            The information published by the U.S. Government is usually reliable, but keep in mind that an underlying purpose behind a web site published by a corporation may be to advertise its products. Online or offline – not everything you see or hear is the truth. Just because a web page looks beautiful, or has cute animations does not mean the message it is giving is honest.


Remember, .com means commercial and most companies and corporations have web pages in order to sell you something.


COMPLETENESS:  Is the source primary (first person, original) or secondary (summaries of primary sources)? How important is the Page to your individual needs?  Is it really “on point,” or just an interesting aside?


CURRENCY: How recently was the Page created? (The date is usually found on the bottom of the Home Page.) Has the Page been updated recently? (Try clicking “View” on the Netscape Menu Bar, then click “Page Info.”)


            MOTIVE:  Once again, try to determine why the Page was created.




Citing Internet sources.


There are more ways than one to properly cite to an Internet resource. Your choice will most likely be determined by your instructor. Two of the most popular styles are presented by the American Psychological Association (APA), and the Modern Language Association (MLA).


See the Pathfinders in the holder to the right of the Reference Desk on the main floor of the Library, or go to the Library’s Home Page at http://www.lahc.cc.ca.us/library for guidance on Research and Writing as well as organizing your citations on a Works Cited or Bibliography page.


COPYRIGHT: The law of copyright gives protections to authors of various types of works, including many of the sites accessed on the World Wide Web.


A common misconception is that the work must have been published in order to be protected by the law. This is not so. Any original work, published or unpublished, is protected by copyright.


Another misconception is that works must carry the copyright mark to be protected. This is also not true.


However, the concept of “fair use” applies to students. Under this concept, students can use a limited amount of copyrighted material for criticism, comment, scholarship, or research purposes. In other words, students are permitted to quote portions of copyrighted material in their research papers.


Look at:


http://www.freetranslation.com/ - free translation of languages other than English. 


You can review some mailing lists at www.liszt.com; or www.listserv.com. Or, do a search for “mailing list”.


To find newsgroups: do a search for “newsgroups”.



COPYRIGHT: http://www.eff.org/pub/Intellectual_property/ or the Copyright Website at http://www.benedict.com/ for more information.



PLAGIARISM: is the theft of another person’s work or ideas. Whenever possible – contact the author for permission. 


See: http://www.indiana.edu/~wts/wts/plagiarism.html, or http://alexia.lis.uiuc.edu/~janicke/plagiary.htm









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