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Can you understand the content?|
If you don't understand a web page can you use it?
What might you do to be able to use it?
-- Why does your web page exist, and what is the purpose of its contents?
News sites also sponsor blogs and link to those blogs that editors consider important.|
Is it a good idea to follow those links?.
Is your page a celebrity or business fan page on Facebook? |
These are partially primary sources.
Is a primary source page important, even if you don't agree with the source or it represents the opposite point of view?
Remember companies are group authors, and can make primary source work too!
Does the site provide consumer information?|
This can include classified advertisements, a store locator, a web board etc…?
When would you need this kind of information?
|If you are unsure of a web page's purpose, what should you do?|
Who? -- Who wrote and/or published your
Is the individual or organization the subject of your paper or
If so, the web page is a primary source, which means it is a first hand account.
Primary sources are very valuable.
|If you are unfamiliar with the author or publisher of your web page, what should you do?|
When? -– How old is
your web page? When did it receive its last update?
Why does a page's date matter?|
When might a page's date NOT matter?
|If the copyright date on the bottom of a page is today's date, does it always mean the page received an update today?|
Advertisements –- Just as with print media, a fair portion of the web is "ad supported." Usually this is not a problem unless pop-ups become annoying or if it is hard to distinguish advertising from "real" page content, or you feel that a web site compromises your privacy to gather marketing information. To eliminate pop-up annoyances or being overrun with advertisements, add-ins such as Addblock Plus are available.
Registrations -– Quite a few sites require signups either to permit replies or to see all the material. Some sites even have paywalls. If you like the site, visit often, want to comment, or even pay,, then register. Registration often exists to prevent spam. Sites requiring registration for complete access include: the Los Angeles Times, Slashdot.com, and BiomedCentral.
Wikipedia -- Wikipedia works well for quick facts, but it is a tertiary source. This means that editors find the information for their articles in secondary sources. Feel free to use the works cited lists at the ends of Wikipedia articles to locate source material, but don't be disappointed if these do not have what you want.
Copyright -– Everything is NOT on the web due to copyright. This means that most journal and magazine articles, and most books published after 1923 are not on the web. This is why the library and the college subscribe to GALILEO databases and why they still also purchase print titles.
Top Level Domains -– The top level domain of a web site: whether it is a .com, .org, .us, .edu or . anything else tells you absolutely nothing about a web site's content. Colleges and universities routinely host students' and professors' personal web pages, while most other domains are for available to any one who cares to pay a reasonable fee. Meanwhile, an explosion of new domain names further muddles these little abbreviations' meanings.
The Dark Web -- Please don't confuse this with the invisible web, which consists of full text articles in databases, PDF documents, Word documents, Excel spread sheets, the dark web home for gray to black markets in a variety of goods and services, that may not quite be lawful. Most traffic is encrypted and requires a specialized browser for access. You can not download this browser on Perimeter College computers. Explore at your own risk.
Eileen H. Kramer
April 14, 2015