Undergraduate research in the public domain: the evaluation of non-academic sources online
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PublisherEmerald Group Publishing Limited
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Purpose - This paper seeks to suggest that criteria commonly used to teach undergraduates to evaluate online resources are inadequate when dealing with non-academic items in the public domain. It aims to argue that these resources should not be ignored by librarians or undergraduates, but that they must still be evaluated. An alternative method of evaluation, based on the concepts of comparison, corroboration, motivation and purpose is to be proposed. Design/methodology/approach - Inadequacies of current evaluative standards are revealed, specifically in relation to the current context of how and where undergraduates conduct research. Drawing on Meola's contextual framework for evaluation, as well as the thoughts of Metzger, ways to handle the evaluation of non-academic resources online emerge. Findings - Librarians must consider the place of non-academic public domain items in current undergraduate research projects, and the challenges these items pose to common guidelines for the evaluation of sources. Evaluation methods must be rethought and based on a more context-specific approach in order to be relevant when working with non-academic resources online. Originality/value - Librarians who focus mainly on the - peer-reviewed - designation or other standard evaluative criteria to help students determine what an appropriate research resource is, and who are unsure of how to guide students in their use of non-academic public domain items, will find here suggestions to guide their thinking and inform their practices.
CitationReference Services Review, v.37, issue 2 (2009) 155-163
information literacy, library instruction, undergraduates, Worldwide Web