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Internet site evaluation tool: students professional practice experience works towards the development of an Internet tool

Publication Date
  • 080699 Information Systems Not Elsewhere Classified
  • 080706 Librarianship
  • Website Evaluation
  • Internet Resource Discovery
  • Hern
  • Criminology
  • Ecology
  • Engineering
  • Geography
  • Philosophy


QUT School of Information Systems carried out a project in association with Griffith University and QUT libraries. The project involved the identification and evaluation of electronic and print resources. These were described within the framework of UKOLN ROADS (Resource Organisation And Discovery in Subject-based services) software. They are being made available via the libraries' Web sites as Infoquest subject guides. A group of students completing the graduate library and information studies course at QUT, undertook the resource discovery role as part of their professional practice, working in conjunction with professional librarians. Students were each allocated specific subject areas. Their tasks were to review current Internet guidance for the subject area, undertake resource discovery, evaluate the material found according to standard evaluation guidelines, and report the material for incorporation into a Web site. Twenty five students participated in the project. They were involved in 24 different subjects areas supervised by 12 different librarians from the 2 universities. Subject areas ranged widely and included Japanese studies, environmental engineering, forensic sciences and ethics. Email surveys of all students were performed before and after the exercise, and we also independently conducted small focus groups of staff and students. We report on the student participation with respect to improved Internet and library skills, and understanding of resource evaluation. This has had many positive outcomes such as professional experience, shared workload, recourse to library subject experts, and cooperation between faculty and libraries. As an outcome of the project, we are developing an instrument that consolidates the experience gained from the exercise along with material from established guides to Internet site evaluation. We are reviewing criteria for site evaluation, and comparing these with evaluation criteria for databases and for printed publications. We are developing a guide that provides a structured approach to site evaluation. It will be available through the Faculty's Web-based Integrated Learning Environment to be used by both information technology and library studies students as they undertake comparison of sites located by search engines. The guide provides a categorised approach to site evaluation that takes into account features such as functionality, organisation, accessibility, content, level and range. The guide also is to provide support for carrying out metainformation creation exercises when constructing Web pages. These description, classification and indexing exercises are carried out with reference to evolving standards such as Dublin Core and the AGLS (Australian Government Locator Service). Therefore the instrument includes connection to software for supporting creation of metainformation content.

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