The CRAP Test

The CRAP Test January 15, 2013

As I focus in my classes on the skills needed to search for and find relevant and reliable information, that topic in the news. Bill Tai was quoted in the New York Times today as saying the following:

When there is too much information, there is high value in search, navigation and discovery.

This is why I focus on information and digital literacy skills in my classes.

Several libraries have made what is referred to as the “CRAP Test” available on their web sites, and it is a useful guide for students first thinking about these topics:

The CRAP Test

Evaluate Sources Based on the Following Criteria:

Currency, Reliability, Authority and Purpose/Point of View

  • Currency
    • How recent is the information?
    • How recently has the website been updated?
    • Is it current enough for your topic?
  • Reliability
    • What kind of information is included in the resource?
    • Is content of the resource primarily opinion?  Is is balanced?
    • Does the creator provide references or sources for data or quotations?
  • Authority
    • Who is the creator or author?
    • What are the credentials?
    • Who is the publisher or sponsor?
    • Are they reputable?
    • What is the publisher’s interest (if any) in this information?
    • Are there advertisements on the website?
  • Purpose/Point of View
    • Is this fact or opinion?
    • Is it biased?
    • Is the creator/author trying to sell you something?

I was pleased to discover that not only are there poster versions of this, but one is a Star Wars version (courtesy of Mercer University)!

That adds to the futuristic feel of what we are now able to do thanks to the internet. Compare this nice satirical reminder of how things used to be done – “Google Classic”:

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