Online Source Credibility 
Brian Carroll | Berry College | Class Homepage

You've Googled and found a bunch of sources. But are they any good? Can you trust them? Are they credible? How do you know? How can you tell?

How would you define credibility?

A resource that is credible is one which shows evidence of authenticity, reliability and believability. The key to credibility is trust: How well can one trust the information? How is trust established? Communicated?

How have you been burned by the Internet? My story (the painter of light)

Case Study>>

The Associated Press subsequently had to issue 39 corrections and retractions

"Credibility is AP's most important asset, and we're distressed that we have discovered that some of Chris Newton's stories contain material that doesn't hold up," AP spokesperson Kelley Smith Tunney said. "It's a violation of our most basic rules. We are intensely investigating how this happened and reviewing our editorial process to make sure it never happens again."

What does it say about AP methods and practices that nobody caught him over the course of 32 months?

monkeyfishing Other examples of reportorial extravagance and fabrication:

**New Republic's Stephen Glass made up conservative sex orgies or "Monicondoms" (Monica Lewinsky themed novelty condoms) to make his copy more saleable.

<<Onetime Slate contributor Jay Forman added lies to a story about monkeyfishing (??) to make it sound more exciting.







How reliable is information on the Internet? How do I check sources and their credibility?

**Author's name
**Title or position
**Organizational affiliation
**Date the page was created or last updated
**Contact information (i.e., email)

Where do we look?

** "About us"
**Contact information
**Bottom of page, with Webmaster info and copyright
**Headers, footers, HTML code (right-click, view source)


Domain names


How about ? ~ = personal web page, in most cases

<.gov>     <.mil>     
<.org>     <.com>

URL anatomy

Here's what we need from any source, online or off: Credibility =


Clues to lack of credibility?

**No date or affiliation
**Controversial content; counterintuitive

Evaluating Accuracy: Triangulation


Three concepts or questions to leave you with in the context of online environments:

**Identity (how easy is it to establish an identity, a new identity? can you be anonymous?)

**Reputation (how faceted is the reputation? mere positive or negative feedback? ratings?)

**Trust (how do you establish trust? knowing the person's identity and that the identity is authentic?)

identity + reputation = trust

trust = credibility (?)

what substitutes have been made for human judgment?
how are the terms (identity/reputation/trust) operationalized?

A few online sources:
Methods of Evaluation from University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign with addendum, a source for almanacs and info found in almanacs
Britannica Online, biographical encyclopedia, regular dictionaries plus 60 specialized glossaries
Acronym Finder
CMP's TechEncyclopedia, for tech-related information, a source for Internet-related information
University of Michigan's Statistical Resources on the Web
University of Michigan's Internet Public Library, reference materials

More online resources for fact-checking also off course homepage

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