An Introduction to Weblogs/Evaluating Blogs
Evaluating blogs Edit
Blogs are not equal in terms of the quality of information provided and should always be evaluated carefully. The quality of information relates to the following attributes:
Relevance: information is relevant if it relates to the subject under investigation.
Accuracy: information is accurate if it is factually correct – or at least known not to be factually incorrect.
Clarity: information is clear if it is well written in accordance with the rules for clear and simple writing.
Brevity: information is brief if it is succinct and to-the-point
Depth/detail: information is detailed if sufficient information is provided to give the reader a clear understanding of the subject matter.
Timeliness: information is timely if it is up-to-date.
Note that some of these attributes conflict – there is a tension between brevity and depth, and it is difficult to maintain a blog’s timeliness and accuracy.
For the purposes of this course you should be able to evaluate blogs according to the following criteria:
Ease of use (usability): generally the same standards are applied as for website usability. However, there is some discussion as to whether this is appropriate. Both sites provide numerous useful links on usability.
Navigation: a useful article on blog/website navigation design can be found at: http://www.guuui.com/issues/01_05.php and another one at: http://tapestrydesigns.typepad.com/design_niche/2005/01/navigation_desi.html
Collaborative features: most blogs support a number of collaborative features, e.g.:
- Readers can post comments.
- Blogs may be jointly authored.
- There are links to similar blogs (blogrolls).
- Content can be syndicated via automated systems such as RSS.
- Blogs can comment on (or re-circulate) content from other blogs.
A useful summary of blogs as a collaborative tool can be found at: http://cne.sitempower.com/site.cfm/blogs.cfm
Links: links are a major component of blogs. They can be made to other blogs or websites and that links may occur in the main text or in a list of links. Links are discussed extensively elsewhere in these notes (Sections 1.1.5 and 2).
Quality of information: information obtained from blogs must be evaluated critically in the same way as information obtained any other online source. There may be additional difficulties if a blog consists largely of quotations and links. A selection of useful resources can be found at: http://www.library.cornell.edu/olinuris/ref/research/webeval.html
One interesting approach is the use of the “Kapoun Criteria”: Accuracy, Authority, Currency, Objectivity and Coverage. See: http://www.library.cornell.edu/olinuris/ref/research/webcrit.html
Follow the link above to find out about the Kapoun Criteria, then check one of your favourite weblogs. To what extent does it meet these criteria?