3. Evaluating resources

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Resources should be evaluated on the basis of the following broad levels of analysis:

  • information content
  • structural design and navigability
  • overall appearance and usefulness

3.1 Information content

This refers to the nature of the data contained within a resource, and not the physical appearance or structure. Questions to be considered:

  • is the resource relevant to the broad scope of the ADAM Project?

  • A resource for inclusion must be justifiably covered by the subject umbrella of art, design, architecture and media. There will also be areas at the edges of these subjects that are hazy and difficult to define. Where this is the case the further intrinsic value of the resource must be taken into consideration according to the guidelines for evaluation as described within this document. However, to a certain extent, there will always be an element of subjectivity on the part of the person making the selection.

  • to what level of detail does the resource go? how superficial/exhaustive is it?

  • A resource may be as simple as an image or it may be an exhaustive document containing a large volume of information. Good quality may be indicated by the great level of detail in a resource, but equally a resource that does not include great detail may not necessarily be poor. Again, subjective judgement is required, as well as consideration of other factors such as navigability.

  • does the resource contain sufficient basic information, e.g., in a WWW document, contact details, last update details, etc.?

  • A good resource should include data such as contact or authorship details, detail of its currency, and a clear indication of its content or nature.

  • is the information presented accurately?

  • This is a difficult question to answer as the person making the evaluation may not be in a position to judge how accurate the information presented is. However, a basic evaluative judgement can be made on the basis of its subject coverage, the clarity of presentation, the currency of information and its reputable status according to its authorship, sponsorship and reviews/comments made by other people.

  • is the information composed well? is the information within a resource phrased unambiguously?

  • A good resource will be clearly presented. In textual resources this refers to writing style as well as information content. In other words, information should not be unnecessarily long and convoluted, and it should be phrased in such a way as to facilitate understanding. In other types of resources this may be applied in different ways. For example, an image may be fuzzy and of poor quality (a careful, informed judgement to be made here - low screen resolution will decrease the clarity of an image which is not an inherent problem of the image itself).

  • is the resource authoritative? who is responsible for the resource? are they a reputable source?

  • The authorship of a resource may be an indication of its quality. For example, a document produced by NCSA may be deemed as authoritative on the subject of Web issues.

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