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Christina's LIS Rant
Wednesday, August 25, 2004
  Frustration with accuracy by formula
Gary posts (scroll) some links to articles ripping Wikipedia. A lot of what is said is true and Gary also links to the pages where the concerns are addressed. My rant is on teachers and school library media specialists who can only teach formulas for determining accuracy. Information literacy is a skill learned over a lifetime. Students of all ages need to be taught how to approach any/all new information sources. Certainly, high school students and college students can be taught more sophisticated techniques than younger children. How many librarians have thrown their hands up because a teacher has banned use of any resource accessed through the internet instead of banning use of "the internet"? Another example: I sat behind a teacher at BloggerCon II last year who was complaining that the proliferation of blogs made it impossible for him to teach students how to use resources accessed on or via the internet. When I was in library school, they gave me a worksheet and pointed me at some web pages and told me to go at it. This is in graduate school and they don't mention any nuances?
Here's some of my model and what I teach people:
Look at the page including formatting, style, grammar, punctuation. Notice if it says who's responsible (this won't make or break the page because Steven Hawking may know absolutely nothing about the eating habits of the North American Pika). Look at when it was last updated. Does the information in it make sense and fit with what you already know? If it disagrees with what you already know, can you find another source to explain the discrepancy? Don't rely on the URL (a college freshman's failing history paper probably won't have the best information even though it's on a .edu site). Does it cite its sources? What are the sources? If you have a chance, look at other pages on the site or archived posts to get an idea of the slant of the writer...
I may add more later, but that's the top of my list. My gist is that just because the Wikipedia articles are not signed doesn't mean they don't have good information.
 
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This is my blog on library and information science. I'm into Sci/Tech libraries, special libraries, personal information management, sci/tech scholarly comms.... My name is Christina Pikas and I'm a librarian in a physics, astronomy, math, computer science, and engineering library. I'm also a doctoral student at Maryland. Any opinions expressed here are strictly my own and do not necessarily reflect those of my employer or CLIS. You may reach me via e-mail at cpikas {at} gmail {dot} com.

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Christina Kirk Pikas

Laurel , Maryland , 20707 USA
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