Web Contents Validation

Abstract

With a large amount of information online, there’s no certain way for anyone to be sure that the information included on the web page is accurate and authenticated. Unless such information has reputable sources, and can be trusted, there is no reason to believe that what you’re reading is true. Information on the internet can be inaccurate or biased and for that reason, individual has to take extra care when reading any online contents. Eastin (2001) explained that as anyone searching for information online, many questions have to be raised to the web contents, and some of the questions are:

  • Is the site has a sponsor? Declaring the sponsorship if any site is very important to verify the source.
  • What type of information, and the purpose of such information to be presented on the site? Validating such information will lead to conclusions that the individual can recognize, and build a judge based on such conclusions.
  • Can you find an evident of bias on the site? Finding such evident sometimes is hard, but if it can be recognized by any individual that will show the direction taken on the site to reach their target of the audiences.
  • Can you prove that the site is created by the organization claimed to be? Another important point and it’s hard to prove it sometimes.

Credibility Assessments of Online Information

All the above questions are valid questions when individual is searching online contents from different resources on the same subject. One might think, that if we can have a system that can validate such contents; that will be easier for the reader to make sure of the information authentication, and the correctness of such information. However, this is not an easy task, and it should start by being responsible as an organization or as a sponsor when the information is exposed to the public domain. The step that should be taken is to compare and evaluate the validity of the information provided by each individual. There’s no such system exist yet to do such task for the public; and we should expect to take extra steps to do diligent to validate such information.

A good example of the web contents that required authentication is the large amount of health information rendering everyday for the public domain, where most of the statistical indicates that medical professionals don’t validate or authorize most of the information online, and as such; it indicates that the possibility of creating false information online is quite possible, and highly expected. Also, with the increase of independence of the public domain on the online information, a social and professional pressure has been increased on most of the organizations, and authors of most of the news to provide the accurate information to the public and also provide the unbiased online information. Such pressure usually comes from the news media and other sources to guarantee that the integrity of such information provided to the public is intact. The same rules should be applied to the authors of the web sites to maintain the credibility of the site and the information that will be posted to the public domain (Eastin, 2001).

Eastin (2001) also explained that the Internet represents a source of unregulated flow of information, which creates high possibilities of hazards to the public, and the questions that should be asked about any online materials are the following:

  • Who authorized such materials online?
  • When was the last time such information was updated?
  • Is the information is accurate?

How to determine the creditability of online Information

Kaplan (2000) explained that certain criteria/factors should be used to assess and evaluate the creditability of online information, some of these factors are:

  • Credibility of the source and the process taken to review the module of the creation of such information.
  • The content must be accurate and based on reliable sources and provided with an appropriate disclaimer.
  • Disclosure of the purpose of the site that indicate how the information was gathered and evident of the accuracy of such information.
  • The interactivity of the site to the public where a feedback of the visitors is provided.
  • Clarification to the visitors of the site if this site for marketing a product, idea, technology, or services or just information content provider.

Since there’s no system exists in our world of the internet to assess the creditability of the online information, and also there’s no channels that every author of a web site has to go through to render content online, individual has to create his/her own framework to do such assessment. Such assessment has to be based on the quality and the timelines of such information. Such assessments can be based on the source of such information, and how much of such information is clearly declaring their sources (Kaplan, 2000).

With the amount of web contents out there, audiences became skeptical of the web site they’re visiting. To build credibility, organizations and web sites authors should get their names visible to the public eyes instead of being reluctant to attach their names to the web contents. Such visibility will increase the public trust, and also indicate the ownership of the content (McGovern, 2003). 

Lam (2002) stated that there are some factors decrease the credibility of any business web sites and these factors are:

  • Business web sites made it difficult for the visitors to distinguish the web site content from the advertisements materials.
  • Most of the web content is rarely updated.
  • The pop-up windows that are used for advertising.
  • The difficulty the most visitors are facing with broken links and difficult times to navigate.
  • Difficult times to maintain the availability of the web site.

Conclusion 

Since false information can create a public hazard, a system has to be created to monitor the web contents, and measure the credibility of such contents. As the news media and other TV stations and radio stations are so careful with their ads and their public information to be exposed to the public without a clear vision of the source of such information, the internet has to follow the same rules. Since such systems do not exist yet, individuals have to create their own framework to measure the creditability of such information, and make sure that the information is directed from reliable sources. With the huge amounts of the web sites that are exist to educate and offer help to others, any one can have a mix feelings about the credibility and the reasons behind exposing such contents to the public domain. For all of the above reason, individual should pay more attention to the sources of such content, and create a framework that can guarantee approved results to maintain safety and reliability of such information. To maintain the outdated information on the web, there are a lot of content management systems that can manage and maintain every aspect of the web site contents.

References

Eastin, M. (2001) Credibility Assessment of Online Health Information: The Effects of Source Experise and Knowledge of Content [Online]. Available from: http://jcmc.indiana.edu/vol6/issue4/eastin.html (Accessed: 6 February 2010).

Kaplan, M. (2000) Assessing and Validating Information found on the Internet [Online]. Available from: http://www.anapsid.org/internet/assessnet.html (Accessed: 6 February 2010).

Lam, M. (2002) Credibility factors and content management for commercial Web [Online]. Available from: http://bing.search.sympatico.ca/?q=Validating%20the%20content%20on%20the%20Internet&mkt=en-ca&setLang=en-CA (Accessed: 6 February 2010).

McGovern, G. (2003) Enhancing the Credibility of Your Web Content [Online]. Available from: http://www.clickz.com/2173051 (Accessed: 6 February 2010).

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: