Analyzing and Citing Electronic Information

Tom Kelliher, CS 102

Feb. 9, 1998


From last time:

  1. Searching the Web lab.


  1. Evaluating Web sites: initial appraisal and content analysis.

  2. Analysis examples.

  3. Citing electronic information.


Initial Appraisal

  1. Author: Identified? Biographical information? Can contact? Credentials? Experience? Citations? Page reached from reputable site?

  2. Publication date: Is the document dated? How up-to-date? Do links still work? Indications as to how often updates are made? Does the work make use of current data?

  3. Organization: Credentials? Bias? Motive? Is the publisher identified (directly or through a link)? Is it a scholarly site (indicating peer review)? Is the organization recognized in the field you're researching? Does the page reside on an officially sanctioned server? What is the relationship between author/organization?

Content Analysis

  1. Intended audience: General/specialized? Basic/advanced/technical?

  2. Objective reasoning: Fact, opinion, or propaganda? Can the information be verified? The methodology is appropriate? Links to other sites to provide supporting documentation?

  3. Point of view: What is the relationship between author/organization and the topic? Would they want to cast a particular light? Does the organization have a political agenda?

  4. Coverage: How does the work fit in with other works: update, substantiate, add new information? Marginal/extensive? Primary/secondary sources? Is a bibliography included? If the work is new/controversial, does the author say as much?

  5. Writing style: Logical organization? Clear presentation? Easy to read?

  6. Evaluative reviews: Do any reviews of the work exist? Links from other sites?

Which would have been the best sites for finding this kind of information?

Analysis Examples

  1. Researching breast cancer at Yahoo. Digging through the subject indices.

  2. Researching prostate cancer at AltaVista. Search string:
    +"prostate cancer" +treatment* +radiation

Citing Electronic Information

MLA Style of Citation:

  1. Individual Works

    Author/editor. Title of Print Version of Work. Edition statement (if given). Publication information (Place of publication: publisher, date) (if given). Title of Electronic Work. Medium. Information supplier. Available protocol (if applicable): Site/Path/File. Access date.

    Pritzker, Thomas J. An Early Fragment from Central Nepal. N.D. Online. Ingress Communications. Available: June 8, 1995.

  2. Magazine Articles

    Author. ``Article Title.'' Magazine Title. Date: paging or indicator or length. Medium. Available Protocol (if applicable): Site/Path/File. Access date.

    Viviano, Frank. ``The New Mafia Order.'' Mother Jones Magazine. May-June 1995: 72 pars. Online. Available: July 17, 1995.

  3. Discussion List Messages

    Author. ``Subject of Message.'' Date. Online posting. Discussion List. Available E-mail: LISTSERV@e-mail address/Get. Access date.

    RRECOME. ``Top Ten Rules of Film Criticism.'' Apr. 1, 1995. Online posting. Discussions on All Forms of Cinema. Available E-mail: cinema-l log9504A. Aug. 1, 1995.

  4. E-mail

    Sender (Sender's E-mail address). ``Subject of Message.'' E-mail to recipient (Recipient's E-mail address). Date of message.

    Day, Martha ( ``Review of film -- Bad Lieutenant.'' E-mail to Xia Li ( July 30, 1995.

Thomas P. Kelliher
Fri Feb 6 09:30:11 EST 1998
Tom Kelliher