John R. Henderson, a librarian at Ithaca College, has given the world this lovely guide for telling which sites on the internet are good sources. I’m putting this new knowledge I’ve gained to the test with his Peak Oil assignment and you’re coming along for the ride.
Five sites with information about Peak Oil are given. Site number one seems a little bit ambiguous at first. It seems to have a lot of well thought out facts and numbers but the language they use is kind of informal for something like this. It seems pretty politically biased to me and so does everything else on this site. Going along with the theme of ambiguity, I have no idea what kind of site this is and they don’t make much of an effort to tell you. Better stay away.
Behind door number two is a site that has me thoroughly convinced it’s a good source. Without even looking at the content, everything looks professional and slick. All the data they’ve given us appears to be cited well enough and as far as I know they aren’t just spewing out statistics to help their cause while leaving out more important stuff. This site definitely has a modern. multimedia journalism look and feel to it and that goes a long way. The purpose of the site is for discussing oil and energy and while the title of this article might look a little biased, the facts look good to me. I deem site number 2 legitimate.
Site three just immediately looks bad. The whole page is unbelievably busy with politically skewed links and ads and every other word is a buzz word. Everything else on the site is political garbage. Even if there was a good article in there somewhere there’s just no way I could trust it. I don’t even have to read the Peak Oil piece to file this one in the ‘not authoritative’ cabinet.
Alright, site number four is from the Huffington Post. That’s familiar. They’re left wing but it can be a legitimate news source. If I’m going to find fault with this one it won’t be because of the whole site; it will have to be in the article itself. Okay, this is really opinionated and unbalanced. I don’t see a single good thing being said about peak oil. That’s okay for an editorial piece, but I don’t want to get my facts from someone whose political agenda is this prominent. I will not be persuaded by you to buy into this, Mr. Leary. Another site for the bad pile.
Last but not least is site number five. Information Clearing House? Can’t condone or condemn that right off the bat. The beginning of the piece had me a little worried that it would be biased and opinionated but the further I got the more impressed I was. There’s a ton of information here and it all looks like it’s backed up by relevant links to other legitimate sites, often government ones. The same can be said about the rest of the works on this site. It has a bit of a “the man is keeping is down” vibe but overall I think it looks pretty good. There’s enough citation here for me to consider this an authoritative source.
So that leaves us with two good sites and three bad ones. Just goes to show you that there’s a lot of crap out there on the internet and a lot of times it’s really hard to tell what’s good and what’s not. Not everything can be so straightforwardly wonderful as this blog, for instance. Don’t forget the clues!