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.
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.
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.