Monthly Archives: May 2010

Web documents with no date

No date!

(Things about websites that may drive you crazy, but can be overcome by a savvy scholar. These same things are also lessons to the wise for mistakes to avoid when you yourself create your own Web content.)

 

You find some great information. Even scholarly articles posted to the Web by authors who should know better. But nowhere do you find any date attached to when that information was posted or published. So you start to wonder: how recent is this information? Is it outdated? Can I rely on it? Should I bother with it? Is it five months old, or five years old?

Obviously, currency often equals reliability and value, when it comes to information. It is a major criterion for evaluating a source or website. And it drives you crazy when no date is to be found!

Of course, if you’re a savvy scholar, you will find other sources that will have the same valuable information, with clear dates of publication. That should be no problem if (1) you’re willing to put in enough time to do the research, and (2) the topic is not so esoteric that other sources cannot be found.

But always take everything with a grain of salt—even if a date is on a website document, there’s nothing to prevent fraud and dishonesty. It usually doesn’t happen, but keep in mind that it can. And if there is a date on a Web page, is it clear that this is date of the posting of the document or when the whole site was updated?

At any rate, never let your guard down, no matter how great the information may look on the surface. Keep muttering the Reagan mantra—“trust, but verify.” By verifying, that means finding corroborating sources with the best possible credibility and credentials.

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Filed under information credibility

How’s FriendFeed going?

I have been asked how are things going with FriendFeed.

Well, I’ve set it up for our library, but other than that, it’s not going (no one’s connecting to it). I think it’s the best social media service no one’s heard of. But it was so good, or at least potentially good, that Facebook bought it.

Personally, I like FriendFeed’s interface and for what it can do in terms of sharing and connecting with others from academia. But, so far the Library is the only department in the college that has it, as far as I know (another reason for a central social media dashboard).

I’ve set up a number of discussion groups, hardly anyone has joined, and so far no discussions. More publicity is the necessary answer. This is an example where a central dashboard would be so helpful in bringing awareness to FriendFeed and our other social media. Interestingly, an academic librarian from New York State has subscribed to all our discussion groups. I’m sorry to disappoint her that we have no discussions to show.

You wonder how certain people discovered you, and why they subscribe: only a handful of subscribers, but they are interesting. One is a librarian from the National Library of Singapore. Another subscriber is Russian—clicked on her Web page, and it is all in what appears to be Russian, so I have no idea who or what she is. Another subscriber is what appears to be Italian; incredibly, she has 19,164 subscriptions and has 383 subscribers. A social media junkie, to be sure, and a very popular one with others to boot.

One of the nice feed options available in FriendFeed: FriendFeed is great for showing the Library’s latest bookmarked sites added to our Delicious page. You click on FriendFeed and the latest bookmarks are listed in the discussion area. The fact that I always annotate these bookmarks can make for interesting reading (I hope).

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Filed under ACC Library, social media