Thursday, May 20, 2010

Get Around Page Not Found

Web Site Investigator (WSI) is a collection of resources we deployed a couple years ago to engage young people in online evaluation techniques. It features six stories (some true, some not) that can be investigated using information fluency techniques to determine their credibility. I hadn't updated it in at least a year, so when a request arrived for students to evaluate WSI, it sounded like a good opportunity to see what needed to be refreshed.

The students' feedback was helpful and now the collection features only five stories -- one of them is no longer accessible. The main criticism about the site was the number of dead links. From what I can tell, the majority of the dead link reports relate to the Sellafield Zoo activity, not to WSI.

In fact, the intended investigative challenge of Sellafield Zoo is its dead links. I will add a note to that effect so students (and adults) don't conclude that the challenge is broken. The challenge is perfectly fine: find the name of the person who authored the Sellafield Zoo site.

The site is aging and there are parts of it that clearly have fallen into disrepair. See for yourself. (This is by the same author who wrote the British Stick Insect pages--those are even more challenging now to investigate).

The obvious name on the main page, Mr. Travis Beauchamps, is not the author. That name is probably made up. I have found two instances of the author's name on the site. The challenge is to find one of them in spite of "Page Not Found" error messages.

"Page Not Found" sounds like it would be a dead end. This isn't the case.

Try it out. Who is the author? Where did you find the name?

Leave your answers in the Comments.

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