Prevailing advice to students on how to evaluate websites (look at the URL, date of publication, webmaster, etc.) is adapted from how we evaluate books. This is an example of First Phase Information Literacy, a term we have adapted from Lankshear and Knobel's discussion of Bezos's distinction between the "first phase of automation" and the second phase. The way we as teachers have approached the evaluation of credible websites is still in the "first phase" of information literacy. In other words, we have merely adapted the methodologies we have used for books so that they apply to websites. However, as websites become more visually based -- incorporating Flash and other animation and imaging technologies -- and as websites evolve from their text-only beginnings, the book-derived criteria for evaluating credible sources are becoming increasingly archaic. We will examine Internet resources through the lens of current book-derived criteria and present some new strategies needed to evaluate the latest online information sources.
By Shawn Apostel and Moe Folk
Shawn Apostel and Moe Folk, 2005