Criteria Selection

The Megasite Project Team researched recommended criteria for web design, selection, and evaluation. (See Bibliography). Reports were made back to the group. Lists of selected criteria were suggested, refined, discussed, and reorganized into three main categories. For a list of the individual criteria in each area, and how they were used and defined for the purposes of this study, please refer to the Checklist of Criteria. The discussion below refers to the broader categories themselves.

Design Criteria

The initial source and standard which was referred to was the Yale CAIM Style Manual by Patrick Lynch. Additions and modifications to the core list were selected from issues notes in the literature on web accessibility for the handicapped, usability issues discussed on the Web4Lib listserv, and the personal experiences of the Megasite Project Team members. Since this project is about accessibility and utility of health information megasites, it seemed appropriate that the final list of criteria took as its primary focus web-accessibility issues.

Content Criteria

For the purposes of this study, "content" does not refer to an evaluation of the reliability of the information included in the megasite. Rather, "content" was taken to mean the existence and use by a megasite of their own criteria, which, if properly applied, should indicate a concern for quality of content which would be reflected in the actual collection. In other words, we dealt not with content itself, but with meta-content.

Administrative and Quality Control Criteria

The focus of this section lay primarily in defining the responsibility for the site, and if those responsible publicly acknowledged their accountability. This was examined both by looking for evidence of quality control in action, as well looking for contact information and testing response times to queries.
Health on the Net Foundation
Health A to Z
Medical Matrix
Medical World Search
Multimedia Medical Reference Library
Health Sciences Library, U of Pittsburgh
Virtual Hospital
WWW Virtual Library: Biosciences: Medicine
Yahoo Health

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Last updated: May 23, 1998.
Copyright 1997, 1998, P. F. Anderson, Nancy Allee, Jean Chung, Brian Westra, Virginia Lingle.