Info Lit Blog – Week 5: Last Great Islamic Empires
Essential Pointers for a Successful Info Lit Blog [NOTE: The following does not apply to the two Quantitative Lit Blog assignments. See the instruction sheets below.] Before working on the Blog, review the section on “What are Historical Sources” under Course Information. Also, read carefully the Information Literacy Blog Instructions linked above. Your responses to the questions listed in the instructions should be as detailed as possible, including any possible information that may be of help in trying to assess the value of the website for historical researchers. Avoid encyclopedia-type websites or sites that do not focus specifically on historical issues. The author: You also need to check out the author of any articles you access and read the article carefully when you look for biases. To be reliable, the author must present some academic credentials (the name of the author tells us nothing). When you read the article, check carefully to see if the author is making an argument about the subject matter. If the author does anything more than just present facts, he or she is not being objective. The website: When assessing an article on a website, you need to check deeply into the source to see if it is being presented by a reliable website. Find the home page and check out the “About” section to see what the site’s producers say about their mission, goals, and point of view. If the aim is to do anything more than present facts, you need to be careful about biases. Don’t depend on the self-description alone. Check out the site yourself to see if there is any apparent bias. It is important to note whether the site includes primary source documents, multimedia and interactive features, etc. This is what makes websites especially valuable. The article: In addition to a full description of the author’s academic credentials and the nature and purpose of the website, for the first question of Part 2 you should be providing a detailed summary of the article or source that you have chosen. You have to show that you really have read the entire article and analyzed the argument being made by the author. Objectivity: No scholarly article is objective, in that the authors are presenting arguments about their topics. Check the introduction and conclusion of these articles to determine what the author is saying about the significance of the facts presented. Even if the author appears to be just “presenting facts”, the selection of the facts to present can be just as subjective as an overt argument. Types of sites: If you are truly looking for good sites for historical research, keep the following in mind: • Websites should end in .edu, .org., or .gov. (Be critical of .orgs. Wikipedia is technically a .org but should not be trusted as a source). • Websites that end with .com are not academic and should not be used as sources (think History.com, Slate.com, Vox.com). • Avoid blogs unless they are part of a museum’s or academic organization’s website. • Avoid popular magazines. For example, The Smithsonian’s website is an academic source. Smithsonian Magazine is not. • A good site should cite its sources with footnotes and/or a list of sources at the end.
INFO LIT BLOG INSTRUCTIONS INFO LIT BLOG INSTRUCTIONS Each of you will contribute to the Information Literacy Project using our Info Lit Blog. The Blog will therefore be a kind of collective journal, in which our contributions and comments build up a database of information about good (or not so good) web resources related to the subjects we’re studying. When writing your entries, be sure that your answer summarizes all parts of the assignment, and most importantly, that it accomplishes our goal: a well-informed evaluation of the web site’s utility for studying history. These blogs (except the Quantitative Lit Blogs) are open to the rest of the class as they may be quite useful when it comes time to do research for your final paper. Make sure that your Blog includes answers to all of the questions listed below. You do not have to rewrite each question when completing your Info Lit Blog, but answers should be numbered. Responses to individual questions should be written up in paragraph form. Here are the steps you will need to follow to post to the Info Lit Blog (Note: Instructions for the Quantitative Lit Blogs will be provided separately.): Begin by picking a key term from this week’s materials (video lectures or other sources) that relates to the subject we’re studying that week. Pick a subject that you might want to learn more about, a possible topic for a research paper. Clear the term with me before you go any further. Enter the term in google.com, or another internet search engine. Look through the first ten web sites generated by your search and choose one of them to examine. Make sure that you choose a website that potentially will provide historical information that may be of use in your final paper. Do not use online encyclopedias. Use only websites devoted to providing historical materials. Before deciding on a web site to evaluate, you may want to try two other options: • the “Advanced Search” feature, which allows you to specify search terms and results more closely, or • “Google Scholar,” which searches academic sources (you’ll find a link to this on the bottom of the “Advanced Search” page, or you can go directly to http://scholar.google.com). Write up a detailed summary of your answers to the following questions and post it to the Info Lit Blog. Be sure to include a link to the site you have evaluated within your post, and to any other significant links you may have encountered along the way. QUESTIONS Part One: First, some basic information: 1. What is your key term? What did you come across in this unit’s readings that made you want to learn more about this topic? 2. What is the name of the web site? What is its address (URL)? 3. Identify the author or the source of the web site (person, group, organization). Investigate the author’s academic credentials (degrees, etc.) to determine general reliability as an authority on your topic. 4. Identify the type of domain (the last part of the URL). Is it .com (commercial), .edu (educational), .gov (government), .org (non-profit organization)? Something else? Web sites from foreign countries have their own domains, for example .fr (France), .de (Germany), .uk (Great Britain), etc. 5. What is the purpose of the web site? Is it a personal page, an educational site, a commercial site, an entertainment site? Something else? In what way might the purpose of the website affect its reliability for presenting unbiased information. 6. Evaluate the design characteristics of the site. Is it easy to read? Is the layout of pages easy or difficult to follow? Is it easy or difficult to navigate through different pages in the site? Do the links work as they should? 7. Does the site provide contact information (an email link or other means of contact)? 8. Is the site current? Does it say when it was last updated? Part Two: Now that we have some basic information about the site, we can evaluate its usefulness for learning history. 1. What kind of information about your search term does the site provide? Provide a detailed summary. Are there primary sources? Secondary sources? Does the site include footnotes or a list of sources? Are there visual images? Multimedia resources (audio or video)? Are they easily accessible or did you run into glitches? 2. In your judgment, is the article or web site objective (balanced and non-biased)? Or is it proposing a subjective (biased) point of view? Explain with examples from the site. (“Objectivity” and “subjectivity” are themselves tricky concepts, but this is an extremely important question when studying history). 3. Compare the information/knowledge on the web site with the information/knowledge in our video lectures. Is the material on the web site similar or different? Does the web material present a different point of view? If so, how is it different? Is there more or less detail? Does it agree or disagree with the lectures? 4. Based on your answers to the above questions, evaluate the site’s usefulness for learning about the search term you entered into Google. Would you recommend it to a classmate?
This week study material: you can just get an idea of what can you search for
The Last Great Islamic Empires, 1500-1800: Lecture Part 1
User: n/a – Added: 9/25/16
YouTube URL: http:// www. youtube.com/watch?v=J8CQX0O3 eDo
The Last Great Islamic Empires, 1500-1800: Lecture Part 2
User: n/a – Added: 9/25/16
YouTube URL: http:// www. youtube.com/watch?v= aQx8 AUnJsbQ
The Last Great Islamic Empires, 1500-1800: Lecture Part 3
User: n/a – Added: 9/25/16
YouTube URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XDGVgk_bVDc
1300 Years of Islamic History in 3 Minutes
User: n/a – Added: 1/5/14
YouTube URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A0VdJAgLRoE
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