Moderator: Liv Valmestad, University of Manitoba
Sponsored by Reference and Information Services Section and the Academic Library Division
The moderator welcomed the attendees and then introduced Lois Swan Jones, Professor Emeritus, University of North Texas (author of Art Information: Research Methods and Resources. Dubuque: Kendall/Hunt Publishing Co. 3rd ed. 1990 and Art Information and the Internet: How to find It, how to use It Phoenix: Oryx Press, 1999) Ms. Jones presentation was titled “Locating Information on the Internet: The Challenge.” She organized her talk around six questions:
1. Is the Internet material accurate?
It is the responsibility of the Internet user to employ their critical judgement in evaluating Internet sites. Just as one evaluates a print source, one must consider the criteria that one employs to make a critical evaluation of the accuracy of information at a given web site. One should investigate the credentials of the data provider. One must attempt to determine the accuracy of the documents presented at the site. Are the documents copied or original? One must not make the mistake of determining the authority of the site on the basis of the URL address containing an reference to educational institutions. For instance, many universities offer students the option to have a “personal” web site that often is just a vanity site, but they contain the name of the educational institution in the URL.
2. Is the Web material current?
One of the prime advantages of electronic publishing over print materials is that documents on the WWW have the possibility of instant updating. This has created a revolution in publishing. Not only can information be instantly updated, but hyper-links may be provided to refer the user to a more specific base of information.
3. Will visual material be located?
Finding visual material on the Internet is a challenge at this time. Ms. Jones refers us to Chapter XII of her new book, in which she deals with the challenge of locating a specific work of art. She also offered the tip that if one knows the museum that holds a work in their collection for which you are seeking information, then the web site of that institution is often the best place to begin your search.
4. What is the stability of the Web site?.
URL’s are constantly changing. Web sites often disappear. Some sites have not been updated for years, while some change constantly in keeping with the ephemeral nature of information on the Internet. Another issue is that while technology allows for the scanning of original documents, some sites have had to remove material due to copyright infringements. However, in general, there is more stability on the Internet today than even a year ago.
5. Is additional cost involved?
Initially the intention of the Internet was to provide as much scientific information as possible for free. Presently much information exists on the Internet for free, however, there may be a trend for information providers to request fees for information in order to cover costs. A example is the web site ArtServ at The Australian National University. Costs have been and are presently being born by large groups and sponsors such as educational institutions. The fact remains that it takes resources to produce information sites and that includes money, and these costs must be paid for by someone.
6. How quick and easy is it to locate relevant material on the Internet?
It depends, one can waste time hunting or surfing the net. But, by employing effective search engines and accessing web sites that index art sites, one will be able to more effectively access information on the net.
Jeanne Brown, Architecture Studies Librarian, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, presented information concerning the “Top Architecture Internet Sites.” Ms. Brown presented the results of her analysis of a survey of 70 architecture school web sites. Her primary thrust was concerned with the identification of core architecture Internet resource sites based on their frequency of appearance in the 70 architecture schools lists of web links. Some of the results indicate that, for instance, of the 70 sites surveyed, 36 architectural schools had no links to architecture resources and 34% of the architectural school libraries had no links to architecture web resources. Ms. Brown identified, in her presentation and on her handout, the top 35 architecture Internet sites. These sites were listed in order and ranked by the number of links to architecture resources. She also determined the categories most often used and the types of sites linked to most frequently.
Carolyn DeLuca, Electronic Resource Librarian, Hazen Center, Watson Library, The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Ms. DeLuca gave a presentation concerning the delivery of information
on the Internet at the Hazen Center. After describing the purpose, physical
layout and the technical resources of the Hazen Center in the Metropolitan
Museum of Art, Ms. DeLuca presented an outline of the bibliographical instruction
program that she has created for a very diverse community of patrons at
the Hazen Center. She related the various levels of instruction and
subject matters that she teaches - from elementary searches on the OPAC
and subject databases to advanced searching techniques on the Internet.
An important part of the Hazen Center is to answer reference questions
from the very general to the complex and sophisticated. She emphases the
importance, in her instruction program, of certain basic topics, for example,
knowing what is the most effective and appropriate reference resource,
the difference between fee based and free resources, the construction and
evaluation of web pages, and critical thinking.