Thursday, October 7, 2010

The value of links-to information

In my last post I pointed to the fact that not many youth know how to access links-to information. Specifically, they don't know how (or even why) to do a link: query.

Using the link: command is not hard. For example, who, if anyone, links to this blog? Yahoo seems to have the best (most) results for this type of query:  link:

There are hundreds of pages that link to this blog. Now, the important question: What does that tell me? What is the value of that information?

Link: information is particularly valuable for investigation and, ultimately, evaluation.

Knowing if any and which Web pages have a link to a page or site that I'm investigating can be very useful. If no pages link to it, why not?  If the only pages that link to it are from the same site, why's that? Why would external pages link to it?  Why do these external pages link to it?

I ask these as questions rather than state the answers because investigation requires (careful) thinking. This represents a great opportunity to help learners really practice investigation.

In fact, the answers are hypothetical. You don't know (for certain) why pages do or don't have a link pointing to them. But you can take an educated guess. Very Socratic.

Link: information is not a simple means of sniffing out credibility or "incredibility." It requires interpretation. You may have to look at a few of the sites that link-to the page you want to evaluate. That means you're evaluating more than one page and one site.

It's a good group activity. Does everyone come to the same conclusion?

By the way, thanks to everyone who links to this blog. I can use the information as a gauge of 'popularity' (most of the links come from a handful of sites) and whether those sites treat this blog  positively or negatively--fortunately, there are lots of positives!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wow. I'm a librarian and I didn't know about link: to. That's a little embarrassing.