Section 2 Books > Periodicals > Web sources > Primary/Secondary sources > Review > Exercise

   Web Sources    

Audience: Anyone who has access to the Internet.

Content: All subjects, including scholarly and popular.

Purpose: To inform; advocate on behalf of an idea, cause, or point of view; entertain; promote or sell products or services; showcase the writer's talents, interests, etc.

Writers: Anyone who is inclined to put material on the Web. Authors are people from all walks of life who may have very little education or be well educated.

Timeliness: Varies from one site to another. Can be very current; in fact, on some sites events are reported as they occur. Some sites are updated, but many are not.

Advantages: The Web provides material that would be difficult or impossible to get otherwise, documents from special collections that have been digitized and the material available on corporate and government home pages, to cite two examples. In addition, it is the most current source of information on many topics, including news, stock quotes (as well as other statistics), and sports scores, for example. Moreover, the Web allows users the very useful capability of linking to related material on other sites. Finally, all material on the free Web is available in full text.

Disadvantages: Unlike material in other sources, information on the Web is not organized in any fashion and can, therefore, be difficult to find. In addition, anyone can create a Web site. Unlike most print sources, Web sites do not undergo any evaluation process, and nobody oversees this publishing medium. As a result, there is a great deal of erroneous (or at best misleading), tasteless, and even offensive material on the Web. Finally, the Web is cluttered wih a great deal of commercial material.

To learn more about the Web, go to Section Six of the tutorial.

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