Mastering some basic scholarly research strategies will definitely give you an advantage over the average Google user as an educated information consumer. If you’re looking for ways to apply these tools and strategies to improve or annotate the information content available online, there are already several tools, projects and initiatives to which you might make a greater impact by applying this skill set.
There’s little doubt that this free online encyclopedia is making measurable changes to our society’s espistemology.
Wikipedia is the fifth largest site on the Internet. If you perform a Google search on any topic for which a Wikipedia article exists, there is a high probability that its corresponding Wikipedia entry will be among the top 3-4 search hits. The bad news is that these articles are only as useful as the sources that are cited. The good news, if you’re an information-literate editor looking to contribute, is that these articles are as useful as the sources that are cited!
If you haven’t heard of rbutr, it is “a community-driven app which connects webpages together on the basis that one page argues against the other.” The concept is elegantly simple: if you find a web page, article or document that argues a counterpoint for, or rebuts, another web document, rbutr connects the two documents and alerts other rbutr users when either web page is loaded that the page has a rebuttal or is a response to another page.
Not all rejoinders are written with equal quality. Information literacy practices will help you ensure that the documents or “rebuttals” you choose to link to are of higher quality/verifiability.
Web of Trust
Web of Trust (WoT) is a crowd-sourced tool with the goal of communicating the reliability or trustworthiness of a web site’s information, products and/or services. Performing excellent resource evaluation and documenting it for other WoT users is yet another way to use research strategies to promote verifiability and reliability in online resources.