Ahh – the conundrums of the internet….
My students are always finding “interesting” websites to include in their research papers. Where would you put this source on the evaluation continuum, ranging in reliability from an outright hoax such as Clones R Us to often well accepted collaborative sites such as Wikipedia, and on to more universally accepted websites such as National Geographic, PBS etc.?
The site is apparently a collaborative website. (“All material on this site is under constant revision. Essays continue to be donated by students and other authors which become property of hyperhistory.net….. )
The “author” is named as “Rit Nostromo” (“In order to reflect the collective authorship … the pseudonym of “Rit Nosotro” has been devised. (Writ is an archaic past tense of “written” and Nosotros is the plural pronoun for “us” in Spanish.) The authorship is “written by us”.)
After a lot of searching around, I finally determined that this is an online course for students. It is unclear what level of students. It also is unclear which articles are written by students and which ones might be other authors.
Is there any validity to this information? Wikipedia has gained a measure of acceptance, at least as a starting point with about the same validity of a general encyclopedia. When/how does a “collaborative” work gain acceptance as a reliable source? When is the magic “tipping point”?
If we accept Wikipedia as a valid source, what concrete criteria can we give students so they can evaluate other collaborative sites?
The site itself says it is accepting articles written by students. What kind of students? Middle School? High School? College? Graduate School? Again – Wikipedia articles are surely written by students…
Who exactly is “vetting” these essays?
The site is compiled from a distinct point of view. (Hyperlinked World History In Biblical Perspective) http://www.hyperhistory.net
Obviously MANY sites have a point of view – the NRA; The Brady Campaign; Birthright; Planned Parenthood. However, things get even more interesting when you get to this page which seems to point to an ongoing dispute with Muslims: http://www.hyperhistory.net/apwh/mast/faq.htm#whoisinstructor
If I should accept the source as valid – is it accurate to use the pseudonym as the author of the page/site as part of the citation as per the site’s example?
Nosotro, Rit. How to cite material from hyperhistory.net. 27 Oct. 2003. <www.hyperhistory.net/apwh/mast/citation.htm> (Date of access)
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This site is blocked by the DOE of NYC:
Reason: The Websense category “Malicious Web Sites” is filtered.