How authentic is your Net

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 06 Nov 2018 11:51:05


By dr s b kishor,

In the age of Internet where most of the information is available free, one should evaluate the authentication of the resources available on internet. As there are millions of sites, many of them are fake or some time clones of important sites that asks you to fill your personal details. Web pages may be susceptible to both accidental and deliberate alteration, and may move or disappear without intimation.

Unlike similar information found in newspapers or television broadcasts, information available on the Internet is not regulated for quality or accuracy; therefore, it is particularly important for the individual Internet user to evaluate the resource or information. Keep in mind that almost anyone can publish anything they wish on the web. It is often difficult to determine authorship of Web sources, and even if the author is listed, he or she may not always represent him or herself honestly, or he or she may represent opinions as fact. The responsibility is on the user to evaluate resources effectively.


The information in Research Activities is intended to contribute to the decision and policymaking process which is very important part of research and which in turn may contribute towards the society in large. So, ask yourself these questions before using resources from the World Wide Web especially if using for Research and ask the questions listed below to self:
l Is the site under https (Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure) protocol?
l Is the name of the author/creator is given on the page?
l Is there contact information, such as an email address is mentioned somewhere on the page?
l Is there a link to a homepage? Are links still current, or have they become dead ends?
l Knowing the motive behind the page's creation can help you judge its content.
l Who is the intended audience? Whether it is scholarly audience or experts or it is merely for the general public or novices?
l Is the information covered fact, opinion, or mere given for publicity?
l Is the author's point-of-view objective and impartial?
l Is the language free of emotion-rousing words and bias?
l Are the sources for factual information clearly listed so that the information can be verified?
l Is the information free of grammatical, spelling, or typographical errors?
l Does the information appear to be valid and well-researched, or is it unsupported by evidence? Etc.
Now-a-days it is considered that doing a research work is easy due to availability of wealth of information online. Though, this generation is referred as “cut-and-paste” generation, but finding the relevant information directly related to the topic at hand from the thousands of potential links compared to reading 10-15 books is not an easy task. As the amount of online information grows exponentially, use following approach to check the mechanism while searching for particular topics in the absence of above question,
l Use more than one search engine
l Use advanced search supported by some of the search engine.
l Use lots of keywords in order to get accurate sites for your query.

In short, “A test cannot be valid if it is unreliable”. Mitchell Kapor once said that “Getting information off the Internet is like taking a drink from a fire hydrant”. All sorts of information can be found on the Internet, including misinformation, false information, and sheer fabrication. No central authority reviews and verifies the content of web pages on the Internet and hence you as an individual are wholly responsible for evaluating and authenticating the quality and validity of the information presented. So, be very critical of any information you find on the Web and carefully examine each site before considering it for your work.

(The author is Chairman, Board of Computer Science, Gondwana University, Gadchiroli and can be reached at [email protected])