Medical Library Association Encyclopedic Guide to Searching and Finding Health Information on the Web
edited by P. F. Anderson and Nancy J. Allee
These worksheets and checklists in this part were developed for teaching purposes, but you may find them helpful as you develop, practice, or review the skills discussed for health care searches. There are three forms:
Content is used here to mean the quality of the information presented. The WebEval Form is a checklist, and uses markers that can be used to indicate either quality information or warning signs. The markers are intended to measure such characteristics as the expertise of the author (authority) and whether the information is up-to-date (currency), protected by copyright (information status), useful (value), and accurate (quality). Always remember that quality can never truly be measured by the sort of tangible criteria used here -- if your instincts differ from the score, ask more questions or ask an expert or health care professional for an opinion of the site.
Usability, as discussed in "Health Information on the Web: What's Good and What's Good For You," (p. 3) is a collection of concepts related to how well a Web site works for the user, regardless of the quality of the content. The usability concepts that are the focus of the WebEval Form include graphics; whether you can find your way around the site easily (navigation); if the pages download quickly (speed); if the links work; or if you have to register or pay to get what you want (access).
There is also a recommendation that you check the site in the Bobby usability tool mentioned in several places in the book, particularly chapter 1 of this volume (p. 13). If you have never used Bobby before, it may seem a little confusing at first. When Bobby checks a Web page, it displays a copy of the Web page, marked with question mark symbols and little police hats. You can pretty much ignore that part. The copy of the page is followed by an image that tells you if the page is Bobby-approved, or not. This is the most important part to notice. If a page is not Bobby-approved, the Bobby logo will be followed by lists of the types of errors or problems. These will be in three groups: type 1 errors, type 2 errors, and type 3 errors. These indicate how serious the error is, with type 1 errors being the most serious. To answer the questions on the WebEval form, you do not need to read anything except the first line of each section. This will tell you the number of errors Bobby found of each type and how many times each error appeared on the page. The WebEval form asks how many types of errors were found -- how many type 1 errors, how many type 2, and so forth -- not how many times the errors appeared.
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Last Update: Thursday, 01-Apr-2004 15:13:34 EST