Should The Internet Be Trusted? Essay

998 words - 4 pages

Should The Internet Be Trusted?

The Internet has become more and more of a favorite place for students to go when searching for sources to use in research papers. This is mostly because of the wide and relatively simple access that the Internet provides to all kinds of information. Why get up and travel all the way to the library when it is so much easier to open a browser window and head to Google? While the Internet can be a wonderful source, and is definitely a fairly new, unique, and versatile way of sharing information, not everything one finds on the free area of the Internet can be trusted. Literally anyone with an Internet connection can put up a webpage in a matter of minutes ...view middle of the document...

If no information at all is listed for the author, the page is useless because its authenticity can not be verified. The authors of Runway.net give no convincing credentials of any kind (Cousins About Us). While they do list their names, contacts, and some information about their background, there is no way to confirm that any of this information is true. Anyone can put up a webpage claiming that they did graduate work at the University of Washington. As impressive as such claims may sound, without verification the source can not truly be trusted. The authors of “Linguistic Diversity on the Internet,” however, list an extensive group of acknowledgements and bibliography citations, as well as their affiliation with the STOA (Scientific and Technological Options Assessment) panel of the European Parliament (Jones Acknowledgements and Jones Bibliography). Investigating the other pages of the website shows that this article is a credited study of the STOA panel, giving the authors enough credibility in order for the article to be trusted as a useful source. If no reliable information about the author or authors of a webpage can be found, that page simply can not be used as a scholarly source.

Beyond investigating the authors of a page, a good way to determine the validity of the information is to investigate the institution that backs or produces the page, if there is one listed. A page that has a reputable institution backing it is much more likely to be a useful source than one that does not. Runway.nethas no institutional backing. The only organization that is named on the page is Web Maker, the business run by the authors of the page (Cousins Web Maker). Therefore, Runway.net is backed by no one besides the authors themselves, showing it to be a less than trustworthy source. “Linguistic Diversity on the Internet,” on the other hand, enjoys the...

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