Wednesday, October 22, 2008

October 22 --> Wiki information any good?

In the reading "What's on Wikipedia and what's not . . . ?" by Cindy Royal and Deepina Kapila they speak about Wikipedia and how useful it is as a source. On page one they state that "Wikipedia is more a socially produced document than a value-free information source. It reflects the viewpoints, interests, and emphases of the people that use it (Kapila & Royal, Pg 1)." These two sentences perfectly sum up the whole article.

There are many factors that contribute to the inaccuracy of Wikipedia. Since Wikipedia is a wiki type encyclopedia, anyone can comment on it and change information about a certain topic. There is a board that reviews the changes on certain terms but that does not validate the accuracy of everything on the site. People may leave their own opinions on the site and they may have a biased opinion on a term. Upon reviewing a term that has favoritism toward a subject matter this reflects the opinions of others. So now we have an encyclopedia forming around biased opinions rather than being an information source. This is a highly viewed inaccuracy of the site.

Turning our attention toward the review of the literature on Wikipedia there are many inaccuracies as well. After looking at many articles on Wikipedia Denning, Horning, Parnas, and Weinstein (2005) noticed that found that much of the content is focused toward frequent internet users and the youth (pg 152). They also mention that much of late history is vaguely touched upon and may be inaccurate. These are important factors because alot of this information we are using in our essays for school and as scholarly sources. Again this is another downfall of the overall content of Wikipedia.

There are many views on Wikipedia as well as great information. Some may be biased and not what you are looking for. All in all I would try to find other sources besides Wikipedia when looking for information.

Royal, Cindy & Kapila, Deepina. (in press). What's on Wikipedia, and what's not . . . ? Social Science Computer Review.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Third Essay --- Facebook/Web 2.0

There are many Web 2.0 media that have contributed to the broad spectrum of communication, as we know today. Some examples are MySpace, Facebook, BitTorrent, Napster, Wikis, Google AdSense, and Flickr. The medium that I chose to research is Facebook. Facebook is a social networking website with many applications that make the site more exciting. Some applications include graffiti wall, sports betting (fake money), personality tests, and group making applications. There are many sources that I have evaluated for the content of my final essay. I will be basing the my resources on the criteria Bonnie Tensen lays out in “Research strategies for a digital age.” The six main things to look for when analyzing an article are purpose, source, intended audience, date publication, appearance, and reputation (pg 80).

First I started out with the Yahoo! Search engine to look for articles. The keywords that I used for the search was “Facebook web 2.0”. I chose these words because, I thought that Yahoo! would bring up any information with relevance of web 2.0 technology related to Facebook. The first article that I looked at was, “Will Facebook Platform Be The New Arbiter Of Web 2.0?” written by Scott Karp. The first thing that I noticed about this article was the date, which was, May 27, 2007. I would say this article is a bit outdated compared to what I want to look for on my paper. Considering the article is also a blog focused on music only I would not use it because it has one focus. The next article on Yahoo! that I found was, ”Will IBM compete with Facebook/Web 2.0?” written by Dennis Howlett. This article lost my interest right away because it was also sort of outdated with a publication date of August 10, 2007. I decided to read further into the article and found it to be a little intriguing. I find it interesting how they are talking about bringing IBM into the social networking world. The page layout and appearance was very professional which made me want to read the article. This could be a useful source and I wont take it off the list just yet. The third site on Yahoo! was “Facebook set to overtake MySpace” by Dion Hinchcliffe. This is another blog from the same site as the second article that I just looked up. This could be a positive thing because if there are many articles from this site maybe it can help the sites reputation. Reputation is a good thing to look for because, you do not want to use a site that has a bad reputation that you may not know about. This page was created a little over a year ago but has some good facts. It compares two huge social networking sites. This is a great thing to compare when looking at web 2.0 and names in the same field. These were the three sites that I chose on Yahoo!.

The next search engine I chose was Google. Again the keywords that I chose were “Facebook web 2.0”. The first article that I looked at was “How Facebook Is Bringing Web 2.0 Mainstream”. This is a blog from a user on 9rules and is a pretty good description of Facebook and how it incorporates all the essentials of web 2.0. I would most definitely use this as a source on paper because there are great facts in this article as well as key terms associated with Facebook and web 2.0. This was the only useful article I got off of Google. I was really surprised and disappointed at the same time, so off I went to Ask Jeeves.

When I typed in the same keywords in Ask I got a lot of the same articles that I saw on Yahoo! and Google. The first different one that I retrieved was ”ABC News, Facebook add Web 2.0 angle to presidential race”. This article was from November of last year and very interesting. This article spoke of the presidential debate and how the new technology may play a roll on voters. We are talking about this same topic in another class as well and I find this article to be useful. This article is from a computer site which serves the purpose of letting people know about new technology. The next article was “MySpace, Facebook bantering at Web 2.0 conference” posted by Caroline McCarthy. This article is great because it talks about MySpace another social networking site and how it has to catch up to Facebook in a sense. This site is very professional and has commentary from the CEO of MySpace which makes it more reputable. The third article “A Very Facebook Web 2.0 Summit” by Frank Gruber is about his experience at web 2.0 conferences. He talks about how Facebook is a huge topic at all these events and how popular it has become. This article is from October of last year but brings up important topics about web 2.0 as well as Facebook. The next article that I looked at was very attention grabbing. It was called "Facebook hack fuels web 2.0 concerns" by Matt Hines. It spoke about an application on Facebook that people downloaded and it was actually an adware program that was disguised. This article points out that this is the first attack on Facebook while there have been many attacks on MySpace already. This article is useful because it is from January 2008 and its purpose is to inform users of possible threats on Facebook. These are the articles that I found on Ask Jeeves that would pertain to my final essay.

The next place that I chose to look for articles was on University at Albany’s library database. I did an overall search for “Facebook” so it could search everything. The first article that I retrieved was ”Evaluating Web Content Social Networking Sites”. This article spoke about social networking site communities and it happened to mention Facebook. There was not much information about Facebook on here, just information about it related to social networking. I did not expect there to be much information on the databases with Facebook because it is a fairly new technology. This page did not serve much of a purpose for me and I most likely would not use it on my paper. The next page I found was “Introduction to the Internet” which basically was a timeline. This gave a brief history on the Internet and how it was formed and such and it gave years in which big events happened. In 2004 Facebook was mentioned about being a web 2.0 technologies. There is not much information on Facebook or web 2.0 so the only time I might use this source is if I was looking for an event pertaining to my topic. I did not find the library resources very useful because it did not cover my topics that much. This may be because the technology is new compared to the information the library has.

I think with the information I have retrieved from the three search engines and the little information from the library database I am well prepared for my final essay. I could give pros and cons of Facebook as a medium as well. Educating the public on this issue should not be a problem using these resources that I have researched.

Tensen, Bonnie L. (2004). Research strategies for a digital age (Chapter 5). Boston: Wadsworth.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Quality of Information ---> October 13, 2008

In today’s reading Research strategies for a digital age by Bonnie Tensen she explains how to determine the quality of information online. She states on pages 72 the key differences between search engines and subject guides. Tensen explains how “Yahoo! organizes its search mechanisms around subject categories.” Every search engine does not follow this same set of steps. “Many search engines use “robots” or “spiders” that rank pages according to algorithmic programs. These programs search the whole page and look for the keywords in the text (Tensen, pg 72).” Subject directories on the other hand use “guides”. Tensen define the job of “guides” as, “steering the user to the most appropriate sites and help them avoid inaccurate and/or unverifiable Web pages.” This is why a directory would be more useful for research rather than a search engine. These are many of the ways that data is retrieved but there is more to look at when it comes to validity of content.

There are many things that have to be observed when looking at Web pages to find it suitable to use. Tensen gives six valid points to look at when reviewing an online source. They are purpose, source, intended audience, date of publication, appearance, and reputation (pg 80). These are all great areas to look into before using any publication for a resource. I think the areas that would give the piece of writing the most credit would be the purpose why they wrote it and the intended audience. Hopefully with students using these check marks teachers will not second guess online content as much.